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J. Collord, Printer. 

Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1838, by 
T. Mason & G. Lane, in the clerk's office of the Southern 
District of New- York. 



The late period at which this work is presented to 
the public, and the unfinished state in which it appears, 
will be best explained by a brief statement of the cir- 
cumstances attending its composition and publication. 
About ten or twelve years since, when the economy of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church was assailed by foes 
from within, the author of the present essay undertook 
its defence in a tract entitled " A Defence of our Fathers, 
and of the original Organization of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church," &c. That work passed through several 
editions, and as the demand seemed likely to continue, 
the publishers requested the author to prepare a revised 
edition. This he appears, at one time, to have contem- 
plated, as a copy was found interleaved, apparently for 
that purpose. Subsequently, however, he seems to 
have been satisfied, from his own observation and the 
opinion of others, that, inasmuch as the controversy 
which had elicited the original work was dying away, 
while the attacks upon the organization of the church, 
both openly and secretly, were perhaps increasing in 
other quarters, it would be better to prepare an entirely 
new work, in which the government of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church should be defended, not merely 
against the cavils of a particular party or sect, but 
against all opposition , and its entire accordance with 
Scriptural authority and primitive usage be established 
by a full investigation of the subject of episcopacy in 
general, and of Methodist episcopacy in particular. 
Such was the plan of the present work : the sudden 
death of the author left it but partially and imperfectly 
executed. The manuscript contained only a discus- 


sion of the subject of episcopacy in general, in a reply 
to " An Essay on the Invalidity of Presbyterian Ordina- 
tion, by John Esten Cooke, M. D.," and a part of a reply 
to a tract entitled " Episcopacy tested by Scripture," by 
Dr. H. U. Onderdonk, then assistant bishop of Pennsyl- 
vania. Whether it was intended to notice any other 
works on the opposite side, may be doubted, as the 
first afforded an opportunity to examine the argument 
from the Fathers, the second the argument from Scrip- 
ture. Why an answer to these two works, one of 
which was published in 1829, and the other in 1830, 
was delayed until 1835, the year of the author's death, 
none will inquire who have any knowledge of his ardu- 
ous and incessant engagements, first, in establishing the 
Methodist Book Concern on the basis on which it has 
since stood, and subsequently, in discharging the still 
more responsible and absorbing duties of the episcopate ; 
especially when it is farther considered that it would 
take some time to satisfy him, that arguments, which ap- 
peared to him so untenable, could ever have possessed 
the influence which they seem to have exerted on some 

This may suffice in regard to the circumstances 
under which the essay was written. It may be expected 
that some explanation will also be given of the delay of 
its publication. To some, however, and certainly to the 
editor himself, a more interesting inquiry may be, why, 
since it is acknowledged to be imperfect, it is published 
at all. Immediately after the author's decease the 
manuscript was examined, and being found incomplete 
was laid aside, not to meet the rude gaze of those who 
can pardon no imperfection however unavoidable, but as 
a memorial of the last efforts of one, every relic of whom 
was precious. Some time after, however, several inti- 
mate friends of the deceased, of high standing in the 
church, desired to read the manuscript, and after pe- 


rasing it strongly urged its publication, as being suffi- 
ciently complete to subserve the interests of the church. 
If, therefore, the reputation of his father, or the cause 
of the church, should suffer by the publication of an 
unfinished essay, the editor's apology must be, that his 
own inclination has yielded to the requests of those 
who, both by their official station and superior judg- 
ment, had a claim upon his deference. 

The principal object of the editor in discharging the 
duty thus imposed upon him, has been to follow the ori- 
ginal, without any additions or alterations other than 
those which were necessary, and which are marked as 
such. This scrupulous accuracy has occasionally led 
to repetition, which by no means characterized the au- 
thor's usual style. The careful reader, however, will 
observe that this occurs principally in the quotations ; 
and will find a sufficient explanation in the fact, that 
these quotations were not written out in the manuscript, 
but only referred to, so that the repetitions would not 
appear until the work was prepared for the press. 

As to the subject matter itself of the essay, it will, 
perhaps, become the editor to say but little. There are 
two thoughts, however, which he would desire the 
reader to bear in mind while reading this or any similar 
tract. The first is, that no argument is of any avail in 
the controversy with the Methodist Episcopal Church, un- 
less it prove not merely that episcopacy is a proper form 
of church government, (for this she herself asserts, and 
adopts it as her own,) but also, that no other form of 
government is admissible ; nay, more, no other form of 
episcopacy than that which is founded upon a distinct 
order of bishops, deriving their authority through an un- 
interrupted succession from the apostles. 

The second thought is, that the manner in which 
efforts are now made to establish the high-church claims 
on the foundation of Scripture, is calculated to lead to 


great evil. Not that we object to the attempt to test 
the question by Scripture, (for undoubtedly this is the 
only criterion that should be admitted by Protestant 
Christians, and we only regret that high-churchmen 
have not submitted to it before,) but to the mode of 
carrying it out, by making incidental hints and obscure 
intimations the basis of what are alleged to be import- 
ant doctrines. This course, (which has been adopted 
in regard to many other dogmas, and with a zeal pro- 
portioned to the deficiency of evidence for them,) what- 
ever success it may promise at first, cannot fail to be 
ultimately pernicious to religion in general, and of 
course to the particular party which pursues it. And it 
might be well for ultraists of every denomination to 
consider what would be gained by securing the sanc- 
tion of Scripture, if, in the very attempt, we impair the 
authority of Scripture itself ; like shipwrecked mariners, 
who, by their imprudent eagerness sink the long boat on 
which they fondly relied for escape. In conclusion, the 
editor regrets the necessity of taking any part in those 
controversies by which the Christian church is dis- 
tracted and her strength divided, at a time when all her 
forces ought to be combined against the armies of the 
alien. But it must be remembered that in this dispute 
the Methodist Episcopal Church stands on the defen- 
sive. She interferes not with the claims of other deno- 
minations to be regarded as members of the spiritual 
body of Christ, but she dare not surrender her own. 
She, with others, now stands where the early gentile 
Christians stood in opposing the Jewish bigotry of the 
temple, and where the ancestors of the present Protest- 
ant high-churchmen stood in resisting the usurpations of 
papal Rome ; nor will she abandon this post of honour 
until exclusionists of every class have surrendered 
their peculiar claims to the covenant mercies of God. 
Dickinson College, May 25, 1838. R. E. 


The field over which the episcopal controversy has 
been spread is one so wide, and marked by the tracks of 
those who have traversed it in so many various and 
even cross directions, that he who would thread its 
mazes without danger of missing the narrow path of 
truth will require, to use a phrase of Dr. Jortin's, more 
than Ariadne's clew. This consideration of itself, not 
to mention others which might be named, would deter 
me from my present undertaking, (which I most sin- 
cerely wish were in the hands of those who have both 
more leisure and ability for the task,) were it not that 
the continued, or, more properly, the recently renewed 
attacks, both public and private, of those who set up a 
claim of divine right to monopolize all ecclesiastical 
authority, and even the covenant mercies of our Saviour 
himself, oblige us to expose the futility and the arro- 
gance of their pretensions, and to vindicate the grounds 
on which, having received help from God, we continue 
to claim a place, be it even the humblest, among the 
lawful churches of Christ. In the prosecution of this 
design, earnestly imploring, both for myself and the 
reader, the guidance of a safer clew than Ariadne's — 
that wisdom from above which is promised to all that 
lack and ask — I purpose to divide the following tract 
into two parts. 

In the first, I shall consider the subject of episcopacy 
generally; and in the second, that of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church in particular.* 

* [The reader will perceive that this second part of the author's design 
was never accomplished, and the first has been left incomplete. The author's 
views, however, of Methodist episcopacy may be in some degree gathered 
from his " Defence of our Fathers."— Ed.] 



Claiming, as the Methodist Episcopal Church does, 
to be not only a lawful church of Christ, but a lawful 
episcopal church, it is plain that our controversy is not 
with episcopacy itself, as a form of church polity. 
Our opponents, indeed, evince a great inclination to the 
begging of this question, and too many among our- 
selves inconsistently, though inadvertently, strengthen 
them in the sophism, by conceding to them, both in 
conversation and in writing, the exclusive title of 
Episcopalians. This ought to be corrected, and the 
various churches of Christendom distinguished by their 
proper titles. At least each should not be forgetful 
of its owri proper designation, nor yield the undue 
influence of even the exclusive name to those who 
would and do make unmerited advantage of it : for, as 
has been well remarked, though names are but sounds, 
yet those who are conversant in the history of man- 
kind will readily allow that they have greater influence 
on the opinions of the generality of men than most 
people are aware of* The episcopal form of church 
polity is ours also. We admit and adopt episcopacy 
We admit its agreeableness to the constitution of the 
Christian church in the apostolical age. But still the 
question remains, What is episcopacy? Not what is it 
that Papists and other high-church exclusionists are 

* [The reader will be pleased to see, in this connection, the opinion of 
Coleridge on this subject, as expressed in note 56 of the "Aids to Reflec- 
tion," where he is objecting to the ordinary application of the words Unita- 
rian and Catholic : — 

" Convinced, as I am, that current appellations are never wholly indifferent 
or inert ; and that, when employed to express the characteristic belief or 
object of a religious confederacy, they exert on the many a great and con- 
stant, though insensible, influence, — I cannot but fear that in adopting the 
former [' the name which the party itself has taken up'] I may be sacrificing 
the interests of truth beyond what the duties of courtesy can demand or 
justify."— Ed.] 


pleased to denominate thus at this day, — but what is 
episcopacy in the New Testament sense of the term or 
of the thing? To the pure and sufficient light of the 
Holy Scriptures on this subject, our high-church oppo- 
nents generally seem to think it necessary to add that 
also of the writings of the Christian fathers, as they are 
styled. Without resorting to this source, indeed, it is 
absolutely impossible for them' — even those few of them 
who profess to confine the argument to the ground of 
Scripture — to complete their chain. Without this an 
essential link is wanting, as I shall hereafter take occa- 
sion to show in regard to a modern writer of this class. 
But, although we deny that there is any necessity for 
this resort, in any inquiry regarding any point of essen- 
tial Christian doctrine, morals, ordinances, or church 
polity, — believing as we do, and as all Protestants ought 
to do, in the perfection and entire sufficiency of Scrip- 
ture alone on every such question, — yet I shall not 
object to follow some of them even into this branch of 
the inquiry, — satisfied as I am that their cause can gain 
no just support from this collateral branch of evidence, — 
so long as it shall be confined to the Christian writings 
of the age immediately succeeding that of the apostles, 
and of which neither the genuineness nor the integrity 
can be fairly questioned. By the aid of these lights, 
my object is to review the grounds which have been 
taken in regard to the essential constitution of a lawful 
episcopal church of Christ. And if, where so much may 
be said, and has been said, by learned, wise, and good 
men, on opposite sides, there be a strong presumption 
of probability, as in most similar cases, that truth lies in 
the middle and not in either extreme, I trust to be able 
to show that it is precisely this ground — a ground both 
liberal and safe — that is occupied by the Methodist 
Episcopal Church. 

The writers on the high-church side, in general, make 
up their issue between diocesan episcopacy, in their 


sense of it, as an intrinsically and essentially distinct 
and superior third order by divine appointment, without 
which there can be no true Christian church nor valid 
Christian ministry or ordinances, and parity — that is to 
say, the presbyterian doctrine, strictly, of but one order 
of Christian ministers. Let it be distinctly understood, 
however, that this is not the issue between them and us. 
We do indeed admit the validity of presbyterian ordina- 
tion , but not the presbyterian doctrine of parity. We 
cannot feel at liberty to go so far toward this as even 
the present assistant bishop of the Protestant Episcopal 
Church in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Dr. H. 
U. Onderdonk* We dare not say with him, " If we 
cannot authenticate the claims of the episcopal office, 
we will surrender those of our deacons, and let all 
power be confined to the one office of presbyters."! By 
no means. The Scriptural evidence for the order of 
deacons, as an order of ministers distinct from that of 
presbyters or bishops, is too plain to be thus lightly 
treated. The directions of St. Paul to Timothy, (1 
Tim. hi, 8-13,) not to mention other passages, are too 
explicit and solemn to allow us to surrender this order 
in any event. Let it stand on its own ground, whether 
we can authenticate that of bishops or not ; " for they 
that have used the office of a deacon well, purchase to 
themselves a good degree," to which their title ought 
not to be made dependent on the claims of others to 
any other degree. 

I ought, indeed, to do the last-quoted author the justice 
to say, and I do it with pleasure, that he subscribes not 
to the extreme opinion that episcopacy is essential to the 
being of a church4 I wish that what he says in some 
other parts of the tract cited could fairly be reconciled 
with this candid and commendable concession, which 

* [The reader will recollect that this was written before the death of the 
then bishop of Pennsylvania, Dr. White. — Ed.] 

t Episcopacy Tested by Scripture, p. 11. \ Ibid., p. 5. 


his sense of truth, after all his investigations, compelled 
him to make. In one respect he seems to go far beyond 
even the venerable senior bishop of the Protestant 
Episcopal Church, whose assistant he is. Dr. White,* 
with that leading champion of high church, Hooker, 
distinctly admitted the plea of "the exigence of ne- 
cessity," for departing from the fancied apostolical suc- 
cession in the high-church sense , and I have not un- 
derstood that this admission has ever been retracted, 
although the pamphlet containing it, which was origin- 
ally published in 1783, was republished in the city of 
his own residence, under the auspices of some of his 
own episcopal charge, within a few years past, and 
although the authority of his opinion, as an argumentum 
ad hominem, has been repeatedly referred to in this con- 
troversy. His assistant, Dr. 0., on the contrary, seems 
to think that his (Dr. O.'s) essay settles the point that 
episcopacy, in his sense of it, is a " divine appoint- 
ment," and then affirms that, from such an appointment, 
" no plea can be strong enough to release us."f The 
word "no" he himself makes emphatic, as is here done. 
Indeed, on this ground, and in the same note, p. 40, he 
seems to suppose — where the sacraments cannot be ob- 
tained through such an apostolic ministry, that is to 
say, through the high-church succession contended for — 
it would be better to dispense with them altogether, as 
being " not absolutely, but only generally, necessary to 
salvation." Does this writer then really think that there 
is just as plain Scriptural evidence, (for to this single 
ground of argument he sets out with professing strictly 
to confine his essay,) of an unbroken series of high- 
church bishops from the apostles down to himself, by 
divine appointment, — not excepting Alex. VI., of Rome, 
and other similar links of the chain, — and that conform- 
ity to this pattern is of universal and perpetual obliga- 

*Case of the Episcopal Churches in the United States Considered. 
t Episcopacy Tested by Scripture, p. 40. 


tion, as that the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's 
supper are of divine institution and thus binding 1 It 
may be answered, perhaps, that the very supposition of 
" Scriptural" evidence of such a thing involves an utter 
and palpable absurdity I grant it. But who is it that 
gives occasion for the absurdity 1 Does not the writer 
alluded to place the obligation of conforming to a minis- 
try claiming exclusive title through that alleged succes- 
sion, on a ground not merely equal, but even superior to 
that which binds us to the observance of the sacraments 
themselves ? And yet he himself concedes, in the com- 
mencement of his essay, that no argument is worth 
taking into the account that has not a palpable bearing 
on the Scriptural evidence of episcopacy, — nay, that 
episcopacy itself (and certainly then the prelatical suc- 
cession) is not essential to the being of a church. The 
high-church succession against the sacraments ! And 
Dr. Onderdonk, a Protestant, thinks, if we cannot have 
both, that we ought rather to give up the latter ! Is 
that succession then " absolutely" necessary to salvation 
or only " generally" so, on his own principles 1 Is the 
evidence that diocesan bishops, in the high-church 
sense, should uninterruptedly succeed to the office and 
powers of the apostles, and the observance of this order 
in the churches be imperatively binding, by divine ap- 
pointment, through all time, as plain from Scripture, 
(the only ground of argument on the question " worth 
taking into account,") as that the sacraments are of 
divine institution and thus imperatively binding?* I 
am not arguing with Quakers, but with Protestant Epis- 
copalians. What answer do they give I Until it can be 
answered in the affirmative, an essential link in Dr. O.'s 
wire-drawn chain is clearly wanting. Could it even be 
supplied, which it never can, still the claims of the pre- 

' [This sentence is stricken out in the original, but as its place has not 
been supplied, and as something of the kind is necessary to the construction 
of the succeeding sentences, it is here restored. — Ed.] 


latical succession and of the sacraments would only 
stand on equal ground. As it is, we admire that any 
Protestant, at least, can for a moment hesitate between 

How much more " apostolical" and rational are the sen- 
timents of Dr. White, now the senior bishop in the same 
church and in the same diocese. Indeed, as he assumes, 
" even those who hold episcopacy to be of divine right con- 
ceive the obligation to it to be not binding when that idea 
would be destructive of public worship." " Much more," 
he justly continues, "must they think so who indeed vene- 
rate and prefer that form as the most ancient and eligi- 
ble, but without any idea of divine right in the case. 
This," he adds, "the author [Dr. White] believes to be 
the sentiment of the great body of Episcopalians in 
America, in which respect they have in their favour, 

* That the reader may have an opportunity to judge whether I have in 
any manner misunderstood Dr. 0. on this important point, I subjoin the whole 
passage, remarking only, in addition, that by " the apostolical or Scriptural 
ministry," I of course understood him to mean that of the uninterrupted high 
church succession for which he contends, and which he allows " to be divine.' 1 '' 
His language is, — 

" It is due to our discussion to add a few remarks on the question whether 
necessity will justify a departure from the apostolical or Scriptural ministry, 
or the instituting of a new ministry where that cannot be obtained ] On 
this subject the first point to be determined is, what is ' necessity' 1 ' Abso- 
lute necessity,' to assume the functions of the ministry, never can exist ; sal- 
vation is not indissolubly connected with the offices of a pastor ; the sacra- 
ments are not absolutely, but only ' generally necessary to salvation,' — those 
who cannot obtain them not being required to partake of them. Difficulties 
long insuperable, preventing the attainment of an important object, form the 
next species of ' necessity,' and that which is usually referred to in this 
argument. And here several questions arise. Are the difficulties insupera- 
ble ? Have they been long insuperable ? Is the object so important as to 
justify deviation from an institution aJlowed to be divine ? There should be 
no reasonable doubt on either of these points. 

"In our opinion the last of the above questions can never be justly answered 
in the affirmative ; no plea can be strong enough to release us from divine ap- 
pointments. What God has instituted for his church he will preserve in his 
church, and diffuse through it, till the institution be abrogated by him or is 
about to be so. This appears to us so clear a dictate of faith, so funda- 
mental a religious truth, that we will not argue for it ; it is an axiom, or, at 
least, an undeniable postulate ; and it ought to settle the whole matter." Page 
40, note E. [The words in italics are printed as in the original.— Ed.] 


unquestionably, the sense of the Church of England, 
and, as he believes, the opinions of her most dis- 
tinguished prelates for piety, virtue, and abilities."* 
Again — To make any particular form of church go- 
vernment, though adopted by the apostles, unalterably 
binding, Dr. White maintains, " it must be shown en- 
joined in positive precept."! He remarks farther that 
Dr. Calamy having considered it as the sense of the 
church [of England], "in the preface to the ordinal, 
that the three orders were of divine appointment, and 
urged it as a reason for nonconformity, — the bishop, 
[Hoadly,] with evident propriety, remarks that the ser- 
vice pronounces no such thing ; and that, therefore, Dr. 
Calamy created a difficulty where the church had made 
none — there being 'some difference,' says he, 'between 
these two sentences . — Bishops, priests, and deacons are 
three distinct orders in the church by divine appoint- 
ment, — and, From the apostles' time there have been, in 
Christ's church, bishops, priests, and deacons." " The 
same distinction," says Dr. White, " is actually drawn 
and fully proved by Stillingfleet in the Irenicum." 

" Now," continues Dr. White, " if the form of church 
government rest on no other foundation than ancient 
and apostolical practice, it is humbly submitted to consi- 
deration whether Episcopalians will not be thought 
scarcely deserving the name of Christians should they, 
rather than consent to a temporary deviation, abandon 
every ordinance of positive and divine appointment."]: 

Now I suppose that Dr. W and the "distinguished 
prelate" to whom he refers, to go no farther, had proba- 
bly examined both the Scriptures and the fathers with 
as much care and capacity as Dr. 0., or even as Dr 
Cooke, — a medical gentleman devoted to a different pro- 
fession, — who, " after six weeks' close inquiry," as he 
informs us, jumps to such " a thorough conviction" as 

•Case of the Episcopal Church in the United States Considered, p. 25. 
t Ibid. X Ito d -> P- 22 an d note. 


leads him to undertake to enlighten the world with a 
book of such episcopal ultraism as would not discredit 
Rome itself, — such a one as not even the ablest pre- 
lates of the Church of England, in the judgment of Dr. 
White, himself concurring, with all the predisposing and 
surrounding circumstances to bias them to that side, and 
after more than six years of "close inquiry," would 
have had the temerity to usher into the world. True 
learning, sanctified by piety, is always modest. And if 
there be any question debated among Christians on 
which their moderation ought to appear to all men, this 
is one ; — a question, not concerning the vital and funda- 
mental doctrines of our holy religion, nor even the 
essential being of a Christian church, — but merely con- 
cerning its form of polity, as different branches of the 
church, in different times and in different places and 
circumstances, may conceive the same to be most con- 
sonant to the principles and objects of Christianity, and 
best calculated to promote vital and practical godliness 
in the earth. 

But I beg pardon. This is not Dr. C.'s ground. His 
system admits of no such moderation. Although a very 
recent convert to it, at the time of undertaking his book, 
he goes far beyond Dr. Onderdonk, Dr. White, and the 
most distinguished, pious, virtuous, and able prelates of 
the mother Church of England itself. With him it is a 
question of life or death, neck or nothing, church or no 
church. Indeed, the language which, over and over, he 
quotes with approbation, as "most unexceptionable," 
seems, to my poor apprehension, to be little, if any, 
short of absolute blasphemy It is almost too revolting 
to be repeated. Of this I shall afford the reader an 
opportunity to judge in the sequel ; remarking here, by 
the way, that this gentleman might as hopefully under- 
take to persuade this generation to adopt the sentiments 
of the famous "Apostolical Constitutions," which, as 
the learned Archdeacon Jortin remarks, " repeat it over 


and over, lest Christians should chance to forget it — 
that a bishop is a god, a god upon earth, and a king, 
and infinitely superior to a king, and ruling over rulers 
and kings." " Here is strange language indeed ! even 
far beyond all erninencies and holinesses."* In the judg- 
ment of an eminent critic,! the sentiments contained in 
the " Apostolical Constitutions" bear a very near resem- 
blance to those in the epistles attributed to Ignatius and 
cited by Dr. Cooke. According to these, indeed, the 
reverence due to Christ himself is less than that "which 
is due to the bishop. That which we owe to Christ is 
made the measure of the reverence due to " the dea- 
cons," — the lowest order ; while " the bishop" is to be 
reverenced " as the Father," — evidently meaning God 
" the Father," — in whose place he is alleged to preside 
in the church. Could any language more clearly betray 
the hand of the forger of some later age ? Will any 
friend of the holy and humble Ignatius — the disciple of 
John, whose epistles are the very model of simplicity, — 
will any such believe that that plain and pious man, on 
the very eve of martyrdom, and himself a bishop, would 
have used such language, and urged and illustrated it 
again and again, that we might be sure not to mistake 
or forget it ? It is incredible ; or, if credible, it stamps 
the name of Ignatius with a stigma from which we 
would fain rescue it. Before Dr. C.'s pattern of episco- 
pacy can be embraced, (for what he quotes as " most 
unexceptionable," will be taken as his own,) we must 
believe that St. Paul made a great mistake when he 
drew the picture of the man of sin sitting in the temple 
of God as God ; for this, we have now to learn, is the 
very character of a true Christian bishop, though not 
such a one as Paul describes to Timothy, nor as his son 
Timothy himself. Why, then, should we any longer be 
offended with the style of " our lord god, the pope" ? Is 

"Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, vol. i, pp. 154, 155. 
tDr. Campbell. 


it any worse than (horresco referens) our lord god, the 
bishop ?* 

Consistently enough with the above, the Ignatius of 
Dr. C is guilty of the profanity of staking his own soul 
as " security for them that submit to their bishop, with 
their presbyters and deacons ;" (the latter classes of 
whom, however, be it remembered, being themselves 
bound to obey their bishop as " the source of all autho- 
rity;")! averring that "whatsoever he [the bishop] shall 
approve of, that is also pleasing unto God;" and accord- 
ingly, in another place, " that we ought to look upon the 
bishop even as we would do upon the Lord himself" 
Epistles to Polycarp, the Smyrneans, and the Ephe- 
sians- Appendix, pp. 6, 22, 24. 

Fine times, truly, for bishops, if these doctrines can 
be made to prevail , (and a new and certain way to 
heaven, which neither our Lord nor any of the apos- 
tles ever discovered, — implicit obedience to the bishop ;) 
especially, if we add one other very remarkable dictum 
of this Ignatius, as adduced by Dr. C, viz. : — " The 
more any one sees his bishop silent, the more let him 
revere him." Ibid., p. 6. That is, it would seem, the 

* It may be proper to mention, for the information of general readers, that 
there are two sets of epistles in the name of Ignatius : one denominated the 
larger, and the other the shorter or smaller. The larger are given up by 
critics as confessedly interpolated ; which demonstrates that some forger did 
make free with the name of Ignatius. The smaller, Dr. C. pronounces "most 
unexceptionable, and — written in the very spirit of an ardently pious Chris- 
tian," p. 67. Yet, only two pages before, he had quoted Dr. Lardner with 
applause as saying that, after a careful comparison of the two, he was of 
opinion that " even the smaller epistles may have been tampered with by the 
Arians, or the orthodox, or both," p. 65. 

He then asserts that the interpolations in these epistles respected the 
Arian controversy, which had nothing to do with the subject of church 
government ; and immediately afterward adds, " It is evident, therefore, that 
there is not the slightest ground to suspect the interpolation of passages to 
favour episcopacy." I do not at all perceive the force of this logic, and 
shall hereafter take occasion more fully to expose its futility. But the 
eulogy of Dr. C. warrants at least the inference that he considers whatever 
these epistles contain on the subject of episcopacy as " most unexceptiona- 
ble." This is sufficient for my present purpose. 

|Dr. Cooke, p. 19. 



more he resembles the "dumb dogs" denounced by 
Isaiah, and, consequently, the less he resembles the 
prophets who were commanded to "cry aloud" and 
" spare not," lifting up their " voice like a trumpet ;" or 
Bishop Timothy, whom Paul charged to " preach the 
word, — instant in season and out of season ;" " reprov- 
ing, rebuking, exhorting ;" or Paul himself, who "taught 
publicly and from house to house, — testifying both to the 
Jews and also to the Greeks — warning every one, night 
and day, with tears ;" — the less, I say, a bishop, accord- 
ing to Dr. C's favourite Ignatius, resembles these, the 
more he ought to be revered. On this singular senti- 
ment, Dr. Campbell well remarks - — Consequently, if, 
like the Nazianzene monk celebrated by Gregory, a 
bishop should, in praise of God, devote his tongue to an 
inviolable taciturnity, he would be completely venera- 
ble. This, as the same able author adds, one would be 
tempted to think, originated from some opulent ecclesi- 
astic, who was by far too great a man for preaching , 
at least, it seems an oblique apology for those who have 
no objection to any thing implied in a bishopric except 
the function.* 

Now, to perfect the claims of such lords over God's 
heritage, with their subject presbyters and deacons, no- 
thing more would seem to be wanting but to persuade 
the Christian world that "without these there is no 
church." And these are the identical words which Dr. 
C- triumphantly alleges from Ignatius, and puts in capi- 
tals as throwing " a blaze of light on the subject."! 
They do, indeed, — a burning blaze — quite enough to 
consume the argument. They assert more than Dr. 
Onderdonk believed — with Dr. C's book before him — 

* Lectures on Ecclesiastical History, p. 102. Nearly akin to this was 
the injunction to the English bishops in the reign of Edward VI. They 
were enjoined to preach four times a year, unless they had a reasonable 
excuse. Neal's History of the Puritans, vol. i, p. 91. 

tlbid., p. 20. See also p. 19. 


or Dr. White, the senior bishop of the same church, or 
the great body of the most distinguished' bishops, or 
others, among Protestant Episcopalians, in Europe or 
America.* Yet to such a sweeping conclusion Dr. C: 
suddenly leaps over the heads of all these, assuring us, 
at the same time, that he had always been in the habit 
of requiring strong evidence upon any subject, and never 
yielding assent to any thing that was not supported by 
it. This, then, I suppose, may be regarded as a speci- 
men of his incredulity without strong evidence , although 
eminent and candid critics have been compelled to 
admit that much of what has been imposed upon the 
world in the name of the meek and holy Ignatius is 
demonstrably spurious, and that, in consequence, so 
great a degree of uncertainty has been thrown even 
upon the rest as to render it extremely difficult even for 
those most deeply versed in ecclesiastical antiquities 
and literary criticism, after many years of close investi- 
gation, to distinguish what is genuine and true from 
what is interpolated and false. Let it be distinctly un- 
derstood that what is above said, or may hereafter be 
said, for I shall resume this point in another place, is by 
no means intended to detract in the least from the just 
merits of that aged and venerable martyr, whose name 
and memory are entitled to the highest respect; but, for 
this very reason, to save him, if possible, as Dr. Camp- 
bell observes, " from a second martyrdom in his works, 
through the attempts not of open enemies, but of de- 
ceitful [I would rather say, of credulous, or injudicious] 

Unlimited and implicit subjection then, as has been 
shown, on the part of the whole people, not only to the 
bishop, but to the whole clerical order, is the doctrine 
of Ignatius as quoted and underwritten by Dr. C, — 

* [At this part of the manuscript there are memoranda indicating that the 
author intended to say more upon the subject. — Ed.] 
t Lectures, p. 103. 


urged too, as it is, by the supreme motive of thereby 
infallibly securing their salvation, on the pledge of his 
own soul for it. 

In the progress of that species of absolute episcopal 
lordship, by divine right, for which Dr. C pleads, he 
undertakes to show, p. 99, that terms, corresponding 
with the model of those alleged from Ignatius, were 
used in Tertullian's time also, conveying the very idea 
that a bishop ruled as " a king" and " master." At 
p. 47, he quotes from Hilary too, with apparent approba- 
tion, after Dr. Bowden, that "the bishop is the vicegerent 
of Christ, and represents his person."* The legitimate 
and natural fruit of such doctrines began to exhibit it- 
self, and laid the true foundation of the papacy, so early 
as in the days of Jerome, in the fourth century. This 
may be seen in a passage quoted from Jerome by Dr. 
C himself, though for a very different purpose. Of 
some of the bishops even of that time, Jerome testifies 
that, " as if placed upon some lofty eminence, they 
scarce deign to see mortals and to speak to their fellow- 
servants," p. 113. Lofty, indeed! And if the senti- 
ments cited by Dr. C. as " most unexceptionable," can 
be triumphantly established, and on the basis of divine 
right, similar fruit, in process of time, (such is poor 
human nature, ) must and will again appear. And how far 
civil liberty itself could long be safe under such a sys- 
tem of absolute spiritual despotism, bound upon the 
neck of the prostrate people by the supreme sanction 
of divine appointment, the history of the past must in- 
struct us, or we must remain uninstructed, or learn from 
sad experiment. 

I am truly glad, however, for the sake of our com- 
mon Christianity, and especially for the sake of the 

* One of these vicegerents and representatives of Christ, in the lineal 
succession, Bishop Bonner, of England, \v;is in the habit of beating his 
clergy corporally when he was displeased with any thing. See Bishop Bur- 
net's Abridgment of the History of the Reformation, p. 262. 


clerical order, and, above all, of the episcopal, that Dr. 
C. is not a clergyman. In my poor opinion, a work 
could scarcely be devised calculated more seriously and 
justly to prejudice the whole clerical, and especially the 
episcopal cause, — and through that the cause of Chris- 
tianity, — although I am far from believing that Dr. C. 
intended this. It has been his zeal in the service of 
a newly adopted communion that has probably led 
him to overshoot his mark. And the chief wonder 
is that any clergyman, and, above all, any bishop, 
unless indeed it were he of Rome, should eulogize 
or recommend such a work, — or how any Christian 
people, with the New Testament in their hands, can 
favour or countenance a book which places them, by 
the alleged authority of Heaven itself, under the yoke 
of a spiritual domination thus absolute, unlimited, and 

It is related, among other ancient ecclesiastical 
legends, of a certain monk whom Satan would have 
drawn into heresy by asking his opinion on a certain 
point, that he prudently answered, "Id credo quod credit 
ecclesia." [I believe what the church believes.] But, 
said Satan, thinking to ensnare him, " Quid credit eccle- 
sia ?" [What does the church believe ?] The wary 
monk replied, " Id quod ego credo." [What I believe.] 
And thus, says Jortin,* if Nestorius would have slept 
in his own bed, he should have said, " Id credo quod 
credit sanctissimus Cyrillus." [I believe what the most 
holy Cyril believes.] Cyril was bishop of Alexandria 
in the fifth century. Implicit faith, indeed, is the very 
correlative of implicit obedience, — the necessary result 
of an absolute episcopacy, by divine right, and the 
genuine seed of all the monstrosities of the papacy 
itself. How different from the doctrine of " the great 
Paul," — "Not for that we have dominion over your 

* Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, vol. i, p. 16. 


faith:" and of Peter, — "Neither as being lords over 
God's heritage." 

But what makes the matter still worse, if worse can 
be, as if Dr. C. were determined to push his scheme of 
episcopal sovereignty to the utmost possible extreme of 
autocratical absolutism, he not only exhibits bishops as 
holding, by divine title, such actual lordship over God's 
heritage generally, but over the presbyters in particular, 
of whom the bishop is "judge and punisher," and against 
whom, however "partially" he may act, — in other 
words, tyrannize and sin, — " there is no redress." The 
inspired Paul himself, had Timothy acted thus after he 
was constituted a bishop, it would seem according to 
Dr. C., would have had no authority to correct him, or 
to redress the presbyters , and the appeal even of Paul 
must have been "to God" alone. Such are bishops 
after Dr. C.'s pattern, and consequently, I suppose, 
were Paul himself or the whole college of apostles still 
on earth, with all their plenary powers, they would be 
incompetent to afford a particle of redress to any poor 
presbyter, deacon, or laic, against the partiality or 
tyranny of any bishop in this succession, though he 
were an Alexander VI., — a very Nero among the popes 
themselves, — for, against such "there is no redress."* 

* If" it seem incredible to the reader that any man, in the 19th century, can 
think of imposing such a scheme of episcopacy upon Protestant Christians, 
I refer him to the whole passage in Dr. C.'s book, p. 8, — remembering that 
it is to bo taken in connection with his theory of Timothy's episcopate at 
Ephesus by the ordination of Paul, and the " most unexceptionable" powers 
of a bishop elsewhere alleged by him, as above shown. What a system is 
here ! Even the most strenuous advocates of the high church nonjuring 
bishops of England, who maintained the indefeasible, hereditary, divine 
right of kings, and the absolute unlawfulness of resistance on the part of the 
people, under any provocation or pretext whatever, yet admitted that a bishop 
might be deposed by an ecclesiastical council. Many Papists, too, admit 
this in regard even to the pope. But, if Bishop Timothy " act partially," 
and, of course, sin, in this or in any other way, for the principle is the same, 
what is the remedy? An appeal to Paul? Nay: his "apostolical rod" 
must not touch the bishop. What then ? An appeal to the whole college 
of apostles in council ? Equally vain. The " rod" of the whole of them 
is unequal to this exigence. " There is no redress, and the appeal of Paul 


A favourite position of the advocates of episcopal 
ultraism is, that the divine Founder of the Christian 
ministry intended, in its original institution, to conform 
it to the model of the Jewish priesthood and temple ser- 
vice. According to this theory it is alleged that the 
episcopate succeeds to the rank and prerogatives of the 
high-priesthood, while the presbyters take the place of 
the priests, and the deacons of the Levites. The 
groundlessness of this alleged parallel has been often 
exposed, and yet there are not wanting writers who 
continue to repeat it. Mosheim, indeed, charitably ad- 
mits, as "highly probable, that they who first intro- 
duced this absurd comparison of offices so entirely 
distinct, did it rather through ignorance and error than 
through artifice and design ;" though, as he remarks, the 
notion when once introduced, being industriously propa- 
gated, produced its natural pernicious effects, and was 
made a new source both of honour and profit to the doc- 
tors who had the good fortune to persuade the people 
into the belief of it. 

If the Christian church was constituted on the plan 
of any Jewish model, there is much stronger evidence 
that it was that of the synagogue than that of the tem- 
ple. This has been, as many think, very successfully 
demonstrated by Stillingfieet and others. I shall not, 
however, trouble the reader with a detail of the arsru- 
ments which sustain this position ; but shall content 

is to God." So says Dr. C, and, be it remembered, according to him, the 
episcopate of Timothy, by divine right, is the one only essential model of a 
valid Christian episcopacy — without which there can be no true church, mi- 
nistry, or ordinances — throughout the world, and until the appearing of our 
Lord Jesus Christ. 

But, were it even admitted that an oppressed presbyter might appeal to 
an ecclesiastical council, how, according to Dr. C, would it be necessary 
that it should be composed ? 

[A portion of what is here given in the form of a note seems to have been 
intended to take the place of a part of the text, but, as the necessary altera- 
tions were not made in the manuscript by the author, the whole is here 
inserted, though liable, in some degree, to the charge of repetition. — Ed.] 


myself with the single observation that, if the parallel 
be a correct one, — one founded in divine appointment 
as the allegation is,— then it is a most unfortunate one 
for Protestant Episcopalians ; for, most unquestionably, 
in the alleged model there was but one high priest, and 
could be but one, legitimately, at a time. Consequently 
the pattern is violated in its most important and essen- 
tial features, — in its very head, — if there be more than 
one bishop at a time over the whole Christian church, 
as there was but one high priest at a time over the 
whole Jewish church. At any rate, nothing short of one 
supreme, universal bishop can at all satisfy the parallel. 
Now this argument would be very appropriate, and enti 
tied to the merit of consistency at least, in the mouth 
of the pope or of his partizans. But how it can serve 
the cause of Protestant Episcopalians, who maintain 
not only an unlimited plurality but the perfect official 
equality of all bishops throughout the world, is more 
than I have wit to penetrate. How the hereditariness 
of the Jewish high-priesthood is legitimately reconciled, 
in the parallel, with the celibacy of the Romish priest- 
hood, I have not understood. A Protestant pope, 
should one ever be set up, might more consistently put 
in a claim for this feature in it. 

Again, however, I am reminded that Dr. C. stops not 
at the pattern even of the high-priesthood of Aaron. 
The supreme, controlling power of " Moses," with the 
subordinate rule of the seventy elders, he thinks " a 
form of government as much like the episcopal as one 
thing can be like another," p. 116. If he means the 
papal episcopal, some analogy must be granted, so far 
at least as to the "form" of one and one only supreme 
earthly chief over the whole people. But if the pro- 
iestant episcopal be meant, then even the trace of 
analogy must be denied , and I should suppose all 
Protestants, Dr. C, I am sorry to say, excepted, would 
join in the denial. 


Indeed Dr. C. seems not satisfied that even Moses' 
government was that of the archetype in the divine will 
and preference. Have we then not yet reached his ulti- 
matum of individual absolutism? It seems not. In his 
opinion that part of the model which consisted in the 
appointment of elders to assist Moses "was not the plan 
God instituted for Moses." This he expressly asserts , 
and then, that there may be no mistake about it, imme- 
diately adds in the succeeding sentence, " He [God] set 
him [Moses] over the people alone," p. 117. The mean- 
ing, doubtless, is, — Set him alone over the people. He 
seems even dissatisfied with the meek and diffident 
Moses for beseeching " God to give him help to rule 
over the people ;" and adds that, although the request 
was granted, it was, nevertheless, with " marked dis- 
pleasure" on the part of the Almighty. The whole 
paragraph, in connection with the preceding, demon- 
strates, to the best of my understanding, that Dr. C. 
would have thought it better if Moses had continued to 
rule the people " alone" without the help of elders. 
And if so in the Jewish type, as alleged, why not in 
the Christian antitype 1 If his holiness, the sovereign 
pontiff, ever saw or shall yet see this argument, it might 
well bring from him an offering of gratitude to the au- 
thor, but how it can from any protestant bishop, elder, 
deacon, or laic, I must again profess myself utterly at a 
loss to imagine. Scarcely less gratitude, one w T ould 
think, is due from Rome for the very strong testimony 
alleged out of Irenseus, by Dr. C, in behalf of that 
" greatest, most ancient, and universally known church, 
founded and constituted at Rome by the two most glo- 
rious apostles, Peter and Paul." — "For with this church" 
[Dr. C. himself marks it emphatically, as is here done,] 
on account of its greater pre-eminence, it is necessary that 
every church should agree ; that is, those which are in all 
respects faithful," pp. 71, 72. If the argument be a 
good one in the episcopal controversy, why not in every 


other? Thank you, protestant Dr., might Home well 

I have heard of a Protestant Episcopal clergyman, 
not one thousand miles from where I write, who, in 
labouring to seduce one of our ministers from his fidel- 
ity to his own church, I regret to say it, by the merce- 
nary temptation, among other means, of a vacant parish, 
(a species of conduct in which there is too much reason 
to believe he has not been singular,) alleged in argu- 
ment that the Protestant Episcopal Church in this 
country is the chief barrier to the progress of the Pa- 
pists , and ours a hinderance to the successful resistance 
of this barrier. And this gentleman, I believe, was also 
an admirer and recommender of Dr. C.\s book. With 
the Protestant Episcopal Church and its clergy gene- 
rally, we neither seek nor desire controversy We 
should be most happy to agree with them, especially in 
withstanding sin and Satan in every form. But if the 
extravagant pretensions of Rome are ever to be suc- 
cessfully resisted, surely we may say of the work be- 
fore us, — 

" Non talibus armis, nee defensoribus istis." 

After drawing such a picture of episcopacy, and at- 
tempting to establish it on such a basis, Dr. C. remarks, 
— " Of this state of things in the church, evidence more 
and more abounds as we progress through the third 
century. For this he assigns the following curious rea- 
sons — "Because," as he continues, "more and more 
learning was enlisted in the cause of the Christian reli- 
gion, and because more of the writings of the fathers 
of the succeeding centuries have been preserved." It 
seems not to have occurred to him, or at least not to 
have been judged expedient to be mentioned to his 
readers, that it was rather "because" of the increasing 
corruptions and usurpations that ensued, through which 
the whole face of the church was changed, and the 


bishops of the succeeding ages, leaving the simplicity 
of their predecessors, were elevated to the rank, the 
titles, the immunities, and the powers of sovereign lords. 
To deny this fact, one must either be ignorant of all 
history or shut his eyes against its clearest light. 

The seeds of this state of things were sown, I grant, 
though probably without even dreaming of their ulti- 
mate fruit, at a comparatively early period. Even 
Cyprian, the famous bishop of Carthage in the middle 
of the third century, whose writings are as confidently 
cited by some eminent men against the exclusive claims 
of diocesan episcopacy by divine institution, as by others 
for them, seems, undesignedly, to have at times used 
language in the florid style of his country and age, 
which Papists allege as containing the very essential 
principles of the popedom. I say undesignedly, — be- 
cause Cyprian himself showed this in his own nobk, 
resistance of the imperious Stephen of Rome. One of 
the famous sayings of Cyprian, as alleged in the nc 
less famous Council of Trent, was, that throughout 
the whole Christian church "there is but one bishop- 
ricke, and every bishop holdeth a part thereof in soli- 

This ingenious and fruitful idea was more largely 
developed and amplified in the same council by Father 
Laynez, general of the Jesuits. That saying of Cy- 

•Historie of the Councell of Trent, by Fra Paolo Sarpi, p. 599. There 
is a singular expression seeming to look this way, though obscurely, in one 
of the epistles of Cornelius, bishop of Rome, to Fabius, bishop of Antioch. 
He is speaking of his rival, Novatus, as Eusebius names him, (or Novatian, 
according to Mosheim,) whom he berates most roundly, and, among other 
things, remarks as follows : — " Wherefore this jolly defender of the gospell 
was ignorant that there ought to be but one bishop in the catholicke [universal] 
church." (Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, lib. vi, ch. 42. The original 
Greek of Eusebius, as quoted by Lord King, is, " Ovk rintaraTo ha ettiukottov 
dew etvai ev KadoTkiKij eKK^Tjaia." And his reference is to chap, xliii, accord- 
ing to the Greek original.) Why did Cornelius style the Church of 
Rome the Catholic Church ? Did Cyprian borrow the idea, or did Cor- 
nelius take it from Cyprian ) They were contemporaries and correspond- 


prian, he argued, " is to bee expounded that the whole 
power is placed in one pastor, without division, who 
doth impart and communicate it to his fellow-ministers 
as cause doth require. And in this sence Ciprian ma- 
keth the Apostolique Sea like unto a roote, an head, a 
fountainc, and the sunne ; shewing, by these compari- 
sons, that jurisdiction is essential in that alone, and in 
others by derivation or participation. And this is the 
meaning," he adds, " of the words so much used by 
antiquity, that Peter and the pope have fulnesse of 
power, and the others are of their charge." As a mat- 
ter of curiosity, it may perhaps gratify the reader to see 
a little more of the Jesuit general's amplification of the 
idea of Cyprian. " And that he [the pope, continues 
the general] is the onely pastor, is plainely proved by the 
words of Christ, when he said, He hath other sheepe 
which he will gather together, and so one sheepfold 
should be made, and one shepheard. The shepheard 
meant in that place cannot be Christ, because he would 
not speake in the future, that there shall be one shep- 
heard, himself then being a shepheard, and therefore it 
must be understood of another shepheard which was to 
be constituted after him, which can be no other but 
Peter and his successors." To cap the climax of this 
argument, the ingenious general, criticising that passage 
of Christ to Peter, " Feed my sheep," avers that the 
term " sheep" there signifies " animals, which have no 
part or judgment in governing themselves."* I by no 
means intend to insinuate, however, that this criticism 
is concurred in by Dr. C. ; for, although he maintains, as 
"most unexceptionable," the sentiment alleged from 
Ignatius of implicit subjection to the bishop, as " in the 
place of God," yet it is, I presume of course, as men, 
and not as brute " animals ;" — although I must confess, 
on farther thought, that such a yoke would seem to be 

"Historic of the Councell of Trent, by Fra Paolo Sarpi, p. 611. 


rather more galling on the necks of rational and Chris- 
tian men than even on those of brute " animals."* 

But as Dr. C. makes the testimony of Ignatius, iden- 
tified as he thinks it with that of Polycarp and Ireneeus 
afterward, a main pillar of his castle, I am not yet done 
with this father. The epistles ascribed to him are the 
first of the ecclesiastical writing of antiquity which 
mentioned bishops, presbyters, and deacons, as three 
distinct orders in the Christian church. He is supposed 
by some to have written about the sixteenth year of the 
second century ; and by some even earlier. Dr. C. 
quotes the opinion of Dr. Lardner, as before stated, that 
his smaller epistles as well as the larger may have been 
tampered with by the Arians or the orthodox, or both ; 
and from this, after a little preparation of the reader, in 
regard to the Arian controversy, he skips to the conclu- 
sion, — " It is evident, therefore, that there is not the 
slightest ground to suspect the interpolation of passages 
to favour episcopacy " Now, to me, this is strange 
logic. How the admission that they may have been 
tampered with in one important respect makes it " evi- 
dent" that there is not the slightest ground to suspect 
that they have been tampered with in any other, I can- 
not perceive. Let the argument be put into form, and 
it runs thus : — 

The larger epistles of Ignatius are certainly spurious ; 
and even the smaller may have been tampered with by 
the Arians or the orthodox, or both. 

Therefore, it is evident that there is not the slightest 
ground to suspect that they were ever interpolated on 
the subject of episcopacy. 

* After Christianity became the established and ruling religion, tumults, 
seditions, and even massacres, sometimes took place at the elections of 
bishops. This was the natural result of such doctrines of episcopal dignity 
and supremacy. See Jortin's Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, vol. i, 
p. 414. 


And yet this is very much the manner in which Dr. 
C. draws conclusions and makes assertions in various 
places of his book. 

The interpolations of the epistles of Ignatius being 
admitted by eminent and candid critics of all parties, it 
cannot be safe to found any decision in this controversy 
on the testimony of an author with whose works tran- 
scribers have confessedly made so free. If they were 
interpolated with regard to important doctrines, why 
may they not have been also in regard to church polity? 
Did not the indisputable progress of clerical usurpation, 
and especially of episcopal domination and arrogance, 
in the following ages, afford at least an equal temptation 
to such pious frauds ? The "Apostolical Constitutions" 
is also a work of antiquity, pretended to have been 
written even by the twelve apostles and St. Paul toge- 
ther with Clemens for their amanuensis. It is a work, 
too, the sentiments of which on episcopacy, as I have 
before shown in a quotation from Dr. Jortin, are obvi- 
ously similar to those ascribed to Ignatius , and it is 
not a little remarkable, in this connection, that such cri- 
tics as Le Clerc and the " learned and ingenious" 
Bruno, as Dr. Jortin testifies, had a suspicion that an 
Avian bishop of the fourth century, Leontius, was the 
inventor or the interpolator 'of these Constitutions also.* 
For, be it remembered that, not long after their rise in 
the fourth century, the Arians not only had their 
bishops, but, through the favour of Constantine in his 
latter days, and especially of his son Constantius, be- 
came the dominant sect. And how likely the Arian 
as well as the orthodox bishops of that and some fol- 
lowing ages may have been to perpetrate such imposi- 
tions on the ignorant may be conjectured from the state 
assumed by this said Arian prelate, Leontius. It is cer- 

* Dr. Campbell thinks they were a compilation probably begun in the third 
century, and ended in the fourth or fifth. Lectures, p. 99. 


tain, says Jortin, that he carried his head high enough , 
and sent word to the empress Eusebia, who is said to 
have been haughty, that he would not comply with her 
request and pay her a visit, unless she would promise 
to bow down before him and receive his blessing, and 
then to stand up while he sat, until he should give her 
leave to sit down ; which put the lady into a violent 

Now even the Apostolical Constitutions might be of 
service on several accounts, as they contain many 
things undoubtedly true, in regard both to the doc- 
trines and the discipline of the ancient church ; but the 
whole are so blended with insertions of a later date that 
it is now beyond human skill, as the last-named eminent 
critic remarks, to make the separation with any certainty. 
And, should their authority appear only ambiguous, as 
he had before observed, it would be our duty to reject 
them, lest we should adopt, as divine doctrines, the com- 
mandments of men. This is precisely our view of the 
epistles ascribed to Ignatius. That he did write epistles, 
shortly before his martyrdom, is not in the least doubted. 
Neither is it disputed that what he wrote, especially in 
regard to facts within his own knowledge, or to the 
traditions received from the apostles or their contempo- 
raries, could we separate with any certainty what is 
genuine and authentic from what is spurious and false, 
would be entitled to high regard. Against our oppo- 
nents, indeed, in this controversy, whatever is to our 
purpose in the testimony even of Ignatius, a witness of 
their own introduction, may well be urged ; for though, 
as Dr. Campbell judiciously remarks, the work ascribed 
to him is, with reason, suspected to have been interpo- 
lated with a view to aggrandize the episcopal order, it 
was never suspected of any interpolation with a view to 
lessen it.f 

* Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, vol. i, p. 156. 

t Dr. Jortin, after rejecting altogether the larger epistles ascribed to Igna- 


Among the arguments which render suspicious the 
integrity of the epistles ascribed to Ignatius, as regards 
church polity, the following are advanced by Dr. 
Campbell — 

" What makes his testimony the more to be suspected 
is, first, because the forementioned distinction [of three 
orders] is so frequently and officiously obtruded on the 
reader, sometimes not in the most modest and becoming 
terms, as was the manner of the apostles, when speak- 
ing of their own authority , and obedience is enjoined 
to the bishop and presbyters, even where the injunction 
cannot be deemed either natural or pertinent, as in his 
epistle to Polycarp, who was himself a bishop. Secondly, 
because the names bishop and presbyter are never used 
by him for expressing the same office, as they had been 
uniformly used by all who had preceded him, and were 
occasionally used by most of the ecclesiastic writers of 
that century Thirdly and principally, because Poly- 
carp, a contemporary and surviver of Ignatius, in a letter 
to the Philippians, quoted in a former discourse, pointing 
out the duties of all ranks, pastors and people, makes 
mention of only two orders of ministers, to wit : presby- 
ters and deacons, in the same manner as Luke, and 

this as clearly spurious, adds the observation, that although the shorter are, 
on many accounts, preferable to the larger, yet he would not affirm that even 
they had undergone no alteration at all. — Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, 
vol. i, p. 227. The same author says that " Origen, and other ancient Chris- 
tians, ascribe to our Saviour this saying : — TiveoBe dom/noi rpaire&Tai, rafiev 
anoSoKLjia^ovTec, to 6e koKov aarexovrec ; that is, act like skilful bankers, reject- 
ing what is bad, and retaining what is good. This precept," continues the 
archdeacon, " is proper for all who apply themselves to the study of religious 
antiquities. Good and bad money is offered to them ; and they ought to 
beware of the coin which will not pass current in the republic of letters and 
in the critical world, and of that which is found light when weighed in the 
balance of the sanctuary." Ibid., pp. 420, 421. This advice, whether truly 
handed down from our Saviour or not, is worthy of a man of letters and a 
Christian divine ; and the latter part of it especially the plainest reader may 
follow, and will do well to follow, though he may not have the good fortune 
to be of the republic of letters, or conversant with the critical world. Let 
him weigh in the balance of the sanctuary, then, the extravagant episcopal 
ultraism which Dr. C. so often alleges from the sophisticated Ignatius, as 
essential to the very being of a church, and the result is not feared. 


Paul, and Clement had done before him; nay, and 
recommends to the people submission to them, and only 
to them, in terms which, I must say, were neither pro- 
per nor even decent, if these very ministers had a supe- 
rior in the church to whom they themselves, as well as 
the people, were subject. To me, the difference between 
these two writers appears by no means as a diversity in 
style, but as a repugnancy in sentiment. They cannot 
be both made applicable to the same state of the church , 
so that we are forced to conclude, that in the writings 
of one or the other there must have been something 
spurious or interpolated. Now I have heard no argu- 
ment urged against the authenticity of Polycarp's letter 
equally cogent as some of the arguments employed 
against the authenticity of the epistles of Ignatius. And, 
indeed, the state of the church, in no subsequent period, 
can well account for such a forgery as the epistle of 
the former to the Philippians , whereas the ambition of 
the 'ecclesiastics, for which some of the following cen- 
turies were remarkable, renders it extremely easy to 
account for the nauseous repetition of obedience and 
subjection to the bishop, presbyters, and deacons, to be 
found in the letters of Ignatius."* 

Again : — " It is not only what we find singular in them 
for so early a period, relating to the different orders of 
ministers in the church, which has raised suspicions of 
their authenticity, or, at least, of their integrity ; there 
are other causes which have co-operated in producing 
the same effect : one is, the style, in many places, is not 
suited to the simplicity of the times immediately suc- 
ceeding the times of the apostles. It abounds with 
inflated epithets, unlike the humble manner of the 
inspired writers , and in this, as in other respects, seems 
more formed on that which became fashionable after 
the acquisition of greater external importance, which 

* Lecture on Ecclesiastical History, pp. 96, 7. 


opulence never fails to bring, and after the discussion 
of certain theological questions agitated in the third and 
fourth centuries, to which we find, sometimes, a mani- 
fest allusion. What I am going to observe has much 
the appearance of anachronism, which often betrays the 
hand of the interpolator. The expression, the church 
which is in Syria, occurs twice. Now nothing can be 
more dissimilar to the dialect which had prevailed in the 
apostolic age, and which continued to prevail in the 
second century Except when the church denoted the 
ivhole Christian community, it meant no more than a 
single congregation."* Now there were many churches 
in Syria in the days of Ignatius, and many bishops. 
Indeed when, through the increase of converts, a bishop's 
parish came to contain more people than could be com- 
prehended in one congregation, the custom continued, 
in contradiction to propriety, of still calling his charge a 
church, in the singular number. But it was not till after 
the distinction made between the metropolitan and the 
suffragans, which was about a century later, that this 
use originated, of calling all the churches of a province 
the church (not the churches) of such a province. To 
this they were gradually led by analogy. The metro- 
politan presided among the provincial bishops, as the 
bishop among the presbyters. The application of the 
term was, after the rise of patriarchal jurisdiction, 
extended still further. All that was under the jurisdic- 
tion of the archbishop, or patriarch, was his church. 

But it is not the style, only, which has raised suspi- 
cion; it is chiefly the sentiments. "Attend to the 
bishop," says Ignatius to Polycarp, "that God may 

* Lord King says that he found the word church once used by Cyprian 
[about the middle of the third century] for a collection of many particular 
churches; but that, except in this instance, he did not remember ever to have 
met with it in this sense in any writings, either of Cyprian or the rest of the 
fathers ; but, whenever they would speak of the Christians in any kingdom 
or province, they always said, in the plural, the churches; never in tha 
singular, the church, of such a kingdom or province. — Pp. 4, 5. 



attend to you. I pledge my soul for theirs who are 
subject to the bishop, presbyters, and deacons. Let my 

part in God be With them." Xvrifvxov eyu tuv viroTaooopevuv ru 

i-meicoiru k. r. -k. ; which Cotelerius renders Devovear ego pro 
Us qui subditi sunt episcopo, &c. Admit that, from his 
adopting the plural of the imperative npooe X ere, in the 
beginning of the paragraph, he is to be considered as 
addressing the congregation of Smyrna, and not the 
bishop to whom the letter is directed, is there nothing 
exceptionable in what he says '? Was it the doctrine of 
Ignatius, that all that is necessary to salvation in a 
Christian is an implicit subjection to the bishop, presby- 
ters, and deacons ? Be it that he means only in spi- 
ritual matters, is this the style of the apostles to their 
Christian brethren 1 Was it thus that Ignatius exhibit- 
ed to his followers the pattern which had been given by 
that great apostle, who could say of himself and his 
fellow apostles, appealing for his voucher to the people's 
experience of their ministry, We preach not ourselves, but 
Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants, for 
Jesus' sake."* 

On the contrary, as the same author continues a 
little after, " is it not his predominant scope, [that of the 
assumer of Ignatius' name,] in those letters, to preach 
himself and other ecclesiastics, inculcating upon the 
people the most submissive, unlimited, and blind obe- 
dience to all of the clerical order 1 This is an everlast- 
ing topic, to which he never slips an opportunity of 
recurring, in season and out of season. The only con- 
sistent declaration which would have suited the author 
of these epistles, must have been the reverse of Paul's. 
We preach not Christ Jesus the Lord, but so far only as 
may conduce to the increase of our influence, and the 
exaltation of our power ; nay, for an object so import- 
ant, we are not ashamed to preach up ourselves your 

♦Lectures on Ecclesiastical History , T pp. 100-102. 


masters, with unbounded dominion over your faith, and 
consequently over both soul and body."* 

Such, in the judgment of Dr. Campbell, are the 
epistles which Dr. C. regards as "most unexception- 
able," and which, as before said, constitute a main 
pillar of his hierarchal edifice. 

To strengthen this pillar, moreover, he endeavours to 
make out that the testimony of Polycarp and Irenseus 
is identical with that in these epistles. 

Polycarp was a contemporary and surviver of Igna- 
tius. His writings, in the order of time, were between 
those of Ignatius and Irenseus , and he suffered martyr- 
dom probably a little before the middle of the second 
century, or soon after ; for chronologists do not exactly 
agree on this point, f Dr. C. quotes him as saying in 
his epistle to the Philippians, " The epistles of Igna- 
tius which he wrote unto us, together with what others 
of his have come to our hands, we have sent to you, 
according to your order , which are subjoined to this 
epistle ; by which you may be greatly profited, — for 
they treat of faith, and patience, and of all things that 
pertain to edification in the Lord Jesus. "+ This, with 
his strong attestation of Ignatius's personal worth and 
triumphant end, Dr. C. says, " show that Polycarp com- 
pletely agreed with Ignatius in relation to the great 
concerns of the church. All that we see, therefore, [he 
continues,] in the passages in Italics in the epistles of 
Ignatius, [that is, what Dr. C. puts in Italics in these 
epistles, as printed in his appendix,] stands supported 
by the evidence of Polycarp, as completely as if he had 
himself written those epistles."]: 

Hold, dear sir. This is another conclusion too hastily 

* Lectures on Ecclesiastical History, pp. 100-102. 

t There is also considerable diversity among critics as to the exact date 
of Polycarp's epistle. Dr. Jortin says it is supposed to have been written 
A. D. 107 ; Dr. Campbell that it must certainly have been written a con- 
siderable time before the middle of the second century. 

t P 70. 


sprang to. It is a mere petitio principii, — a sheer 
begging of the question. It must first be proved that 
all those passages were in the copy of those epistles 
which came under the eye of Polycarp ; for this, you 
ought to be aware, is disputed, for reasons already given. 
Until this difficulty, therefore, is removed, this argu- 
ment is deficient in an essential link. 

The same remarks are applicable to Dr. C.'s attempt 
to identify the testimony of Irenseus with the passages 
which he has marked as specially observable under the 
name of Ignatius. It must first be proved that Irenams 
ever saw them. This foundation of the argument must 
be established before the superstructure can stand. 

But let us now review the evidence which these early 
fathers furnish against the system of Dr C. For, as 
has been already observed, even the epistles of Igna- 
tius in this respect are not supposed to have been inter- 
polated , since, for this the state and progress of eccle- 
siastical affairs in the following ages evidently furnish 
no probable motive, as they plainly did for such 
freedoms on the opposite side. 

Before I proceed to this, however, I beg leave to 
remind the reader that there was one other earlier Chris- 
tian father, after the apostles, of whose writings Dr. C 
seems content to make but little use : I mean Clemens 
Romanus — Clement of Rome. The writings of this 
father are characterized by Dr. Campbell as " the most 
respectable remains we have of Christian antiquity, 
next to the inspired writings." He then proceeds thus : 
" The piece I allude to is the first epistle of Clemens 
Romanus to the Corinthians, as it is commonly styled, 
but as it styles itself, ' The Epistle of the Church of 
God at Rome to the Church of God at Corinth.' It is 
the same Clement whom Paul (Philip, iv, 3) calls his 
fellow-labourer, and one of those whose names are in 
the book of life. There we are told, chap, xlii, that 
' the apostles, having preached the gospel in countries 


and towns, constituted the first-fruits of their ministry, 
whom they approved by the Spirit, bishops and deacons 
of those who should believe.' And in order to satisfy 
us that he did not use these words in a vague manner, 
for church officers in general, but as expressive of all 
the distinct orders that were established by them in the 
church, he adds: 'Nor was this a new device, inas- 
much as bishops and deacons had been pointed out 
many ages before, — for thus says the Scripture, " I will 
constitute their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons 
in faith." ' The passage quoted is the last clause of the 
17th verse of the 60th chapter of Isaiah. It is thus ren- 
dered in our version ' I will make thine officers peace, 
and thine exactors righteousness.' Whether this vene- 
rable ancient has given a just translation, or made a 
proper application of this prediction, is not the point in 
question ; it is enough that it evinces what his notion 
was of the established ministers then in the church. 
And if (as no critic ever questioned, and as his own 
argument necessarily requires,) he means the same by 
bishops with those who in the Acts are called npeojSvTepoi, 
whom the apostles Paul and Barnabas ordained in every 
church, and whom Clement in other parts of this epistle 
also calls irpsopvTepoi, — namely, the ordinary teachers , it 
would seem strange that the bishop, properly so called, 
the principal officer of all, should be the only one in 
his account of whom the Holy Spirit, in sacred writ, 
had given no previous intimation. Nay, do not me 
words of this father manifestly imply that any other 
office in the church than the two he had mentioned, 
might be justly styled a new device or invention? 
Dr. Pearson, in his Vindicia? Ignatiana?, insists much 
that whenever any of the fathers purposely enumerate 
the different orders in the church, they mention always 
three. If the above account given by Clement is not to 
be considered an enumeration, I know not what to call 
it. If two were actually all the orders then in the 


church, could he have introduced the mention of them 
by telling us he was about to give a list or catalogue, 
or even to make an enumeration of the ecclesiastical 
degrees ? Is this a way of prefacing the mention of so 
small a number as two ? It is this writer's express de- 
sign to acquaint us what the apostles did for accommo- 
dating the several churches they planted, in pastors and 
assistants. And can we suppose he would have omitted 
the chief point of all, namely, that they supplied every 
church with a prelate, ruler, or head, if any one had 
really been entitled to this distinction ? 

" If it should be urged that under the term Emonoiroi, both 
functions of bishop and presbyter are comprehended, it 
is manifest that, as it was the writer's scope to mark the 
different offices established as being predicted by the 
prophets in the Old Testament, there cannot be a 
stronger indication that there was then no material, if 
any, difference between them, and that they were pro- 
perly denominated and considered as one office. The 
appellatives also by which they are denoted, are inva- 
riably employed by him in the plural number as being 
equally applicable to all. It is said in chap, i, rotf 
fiyov/icvotc ifiuv imoTaooofievoi, submitting to your governors or 
guides. It is remarkable also that the word ^yov/ievo ? , here 
used in the plural of all their pastors, is one of those terms 
which came afterward to be appropriated to the bishop. 
Nay, since it mus^; be admitted, that in the New Testa- 
ment, as well as in the ancient Christian monument just 
now quoted, the words emoitonos and ■Kpeopvrepos are not 
occasionally, but uniformly, used synonymously ; the 
very discovery that there was not any distinctive appel- 
lation for such an office as is now called bishop is not 
of inconsiderable weight to prove that it did not exist. 
We know that every other office, ordinary and extraor- 
dinary, is sufficiently distinguished by an appropriated 

" But I cannot help observing further concerning this 


epistle of Clement, that though it was written with the 
special view of conciliating the minds of the Corinthians 
to their pastors, commonly in this letter called presby- 
ters, some of whom the people had turned out of their 
offices, or expelled (a™ r^ ^laKo^m) from their bishoprick, 
as his words literally imply, there is not the most distant 
hint of any superior to these itpeapvTepot, whose proper 
province it was, if there had been such a superior, to 
inspect their conduct and to judge of it ; and whose 
authority the people had treated most contemptuously, 
in presuming, without so much as consulting him, to 
degrade their presbyters. It was natural, it was even 
unavoidable, to take notice in such a case of the usurpa- 
tion whereof they had been guilty upon their bishop — 
the chief shepherd, who had the oversight of all the 
under shepherds, the presbyters as well as of the people, 
and to whom alone, if there had been such a person, 
those presbyters were accountable for their conduct. 
Yet there is not so much as a syllable in all this long 
letter that points this way. On the contrary, he 
argues from the power with which those presbyters 
themselves were vested, and of which they could not 
be justly stripped whilst they discharged faithfully the 
duties of their office. I will appeal to any candid person 
who is tolerably conversant in the Christian antiquities, 
whether he thinks it possible that in the third century 
such a letter, on such an emergence, 'could have been 
written to any Christian congregation by any man in 
his senses, wherein there w r as no more notice taken of 
the bishop, who was then, in a manner, every thing in 
his own church, than if he were nothing at all. And 
that there was so great a difference, in less than two cen- 
turies, in people's style and sentiments on this article, 
is an uncontrovertible proof that in that period things 
came to stand on a very different foot. This epistle 
of Clement, who was a disciple of Paul, appears indeed 
from one passage to have been written so early as before 


the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem, and conse- 
quently before the seventy-second year of Christ, accord- 
ing to the vulgar computation. And if so, it was written 
before the Apocalypse, and perhaps some other parts 
of the sacred canon. Nothing, therefore, that is not 
Scripture, can be of greater authority in determining a 
point of fact, as is the question about the constitution 
of the apostolical church."* 

It is proper to note here, that Dr. Campbell afterward, 
adds a general observation, to which he invites the 
attention of the judicious and candid, that what he has 
advanced does not affect the lawfulness, or even, in 
certain circumstances, the expediency of the episcopal 
model; but only exposes the arrogance of pretending 
to a jus divinum, [a divine right.] He is satisfied (as 
he continues, with a manly and Christian frankness 
worthy of all commendation and of more general imita- 
tion) that no form of polity can plead such an exclu- 
sive charter as that phrase, in its present acceptation, 
is understood to imply, — that the claim is clearly the 
offspring of sectarian bigotry and ignorance. — That in 
regard to those polities which obtain at present in the 
different Christian sects, he ingenuously owns that he 
fcas not found one of all that he has examined, which 
can be said perfectly to coincide with the model of 
the apostolic church. Some indeed are nearer, and 
some are more remote ; but this we may say with free- 
dom, that if a particular form of polity had been essen- 
tial to the church, it would have been laid down in a 
different manner in the sacred books. — That the very 
hypothesis, in his opinion, is repugnant to the spiritual 
nature of the evangelical economy, and savours grossly 
of the conceit with which the Jews were intoxicated of 
the Messiah's secular kingdom, — a conceit with which 
many like-minded Christians are intoxicated still, f 

* Lectures, pp. 70-72. f lb., pp. 73, 74. 


Let it be observed also, that I quote Dr. Campbell 
freely, not because I agree with him in all respects, but 
because, in the main points in this controversy, as 
between high church and us, his able work fully sus- 
tains our views as above stated. 

I now return to Ignatius. In speaking of his epistles 
Dr. C. remarks, p. 18, that " in every instance the bishop 
is mentioned in such terms as show that he was the only 
one in the church addressed." This Dr. C. marks em- 
phatically, as is here done. The assertion is a very 
extraordinary one, and, I suppose, cannot have been 
intended to convey the meaning which the face of it 
imports. For if the reader will turn to the epistles, he 
will find, on the contrary, that "in every instance," 
except the epistle to Polycarp, it is "the church" that 
is addressed. And although Dr. C. maintains that with- 
out a bishop, such as he describes, there is no church. 
yet I am not aware that he has yet taken upon himself 
to assert that the bishop alone is " the church." 

But, passing this obscure passage, as perhaps merely 
wanting in felicity of expression, is it not singular that 
Ignatius, in addressing Polycarp, himself a bishop, and 
a disciple of St. John, should say to him, " Hearken 
unto the bishop, that God also may hearken unto yoiL 
My soul be security for them that submit to their bishop, 
with their presbyters and deacons r Yet so Dr. C. cites 
him ; and this is one of the passages which he specially 
marks with Italics, as above.* The passage itself, in 
such an epistle, is foisted as impertinently as the lan- 
guage is profane, and the sentiment antichristian. 

Dr. C. refers to Dr. Miller, as observing that several 
of the early fathers " expressly represent presbyters as 
the successors of the apostles . among others Ignatius." 
And afterward adds, " The reader may easily determine 
how far this assertion is correct, by turning to the 

* Appendix, p. xxiv. 


passages in Italic letters, in the appendix to these 

Well, I have done so : — confining myself to the pas- 
sages marked by Dr. C. himself. And what does the 
reader suppose is the result ? Is he at all prepared to 
anticipate that several of these very passages expressly 
confirm Dr. Miller's assertion 1 If, considering the bold- 
ness with which Dr. C. makes the reference, he deem 
this incredible, then I assure him that I quote them as 
they stand in Dr. C.'s own appendix, and as marked by 
himself; except that I put in small capitals the words 
which represent presbyters as successors of the apostles, 
which Dr. C. leaves in Italics, in common with the rest 
of the passage. 

In the epistle to the Magnesians, sect. 6, Ignatius 
says, "J exhort you that ye study to do all things in 
divine concord : your bishop presiding in the place of God, 


the apostles, and your deacons most dear to me being 
intrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ." \ 

In the epistle to the Trallians, sect. 2, he says, " For 
whereas ye are subject to your bishop, as to Jesus Christ, 
ye appear to me to live not after the manner of men, but 
according to Jesus Christ. It is therefore necessary, that 
as ye do, so without your bishop you should do nothing : 


apostles of Jesus- Christ our hope , in whom if we 
walk, we shall be found in him. The deacons also, as 
being the ministers of the mysteries of Jesus Christ." X 

Again : in the same epistle to the Trallians, sect. 3, 
he says : " In like manner let all reverence the deacons 
as Jesus Christ, and the bishop as the Father, and the 


In the epistle to the Smyrneans, he says : " See that 

* Dr. C. p. 19. t Appendix, p. x. ^Ib., p. xii. 


ye all follow your bishop, as Jesus Christ, the Father; 
and the presbytery as the apostles , and reverence 
the deacons as the command of God."* 

An examination of the above passages may aid the 
reader in forming a judgment of the incautiousness, to 
use no stronger term, with which Dr. C. makes the 
most positive and extraordinary affirmations. Of that 
cited above from the 6th section of the epistle to the 
Magnesians, he says, " Take the whole together, and 
the meaning is precisely the reverse of that which 
Dr. Miller represents it to be," p. 19. Now Dr. Miller's 
statement was, that Ignatius in that passage represents 
presbyters as the successors of the apostles. This then, 
at present, is the single question ; and Dr. C. must be 
held to it. Does that whole passage of Ignatius, taken 
together, represent presbyters as the successors of the 
apostles, or does it represent " precisely the reverse V 
The former is Dr. Miller's assertion, the latter is Dr. C.'s. 
I leave the reader, after looking back at the passage, to 
judge between them. 

Dr. C. himself, indeed, very soon afterward, p. 20, 
seems smitten with the conviction that Ignatius does 
" represent the presbyters as standing in the place of 
the apostles." For he there adds, (after mentioning 
Dr. Miller's farther quotation of the 3d section of the 
epistle to the Trallians also,) " If these passages repre- 
sent the presbyters as standing in the place of the 
apostles, they place the bishop as far above them as he 
could by any language be represented to be." I grant 
it: — even as far — I pause, and am shocked to repeat 
such language, — yes, even as far as God is above the 
apostles ! Certainly language cannot go higher. It is 
indeed, reader, a sober verity Dr. C. himself, a little 
after, on the same page, repeats with manifest approba- 
tion. "They represent the bishop as standing in the 
place of God." 

* Appendix, p. xxii. 


Such then is a Christian bishop, according to the 
epistles of Ignatius, which Dr. C. pronounces " most 
unexceptionable ;" and such, consequently, in the judg- 
ment of Dr. C, is a Christian bishop still, " standing in 
the place of God, as far above presbyters, — and cer- 
tainly, of course, above deacons, laics, and the whole 
church beside his single self, — as God above the. apos- 
tles !" If deeds of ineffable atrocity may be expressed 
as outheroding Herod, surely the challenging of such 
insufferable, even infinite pre-eminence for the episcopal 
dignity and authority, may not inappositely be branded 
as outpoping (if I may coin this term for the special 
occasion) the pope himself. 

In truth, it is very far worse than popery. For, 
according to popery, there is but one supreme sovereign 
bishop, the absolute ruler of the whole church. But 
according to this scheme, each and every bishop is such 
within his diocese, of whatever extent. And thus the 
entire church of Christ on earth must be subjected, if 
this notion prevail, to the absolute domination of an 
unlimited number of popes, instead of one, — against 
whom, however arbitrary, partial, or oppressive their 
acts may be, there is no redress, and no appeal but to 

In remarking on the writings of Cyprian, bishop of 
Carthage, about the middle of the third century, Dr. 
Jortin observes, that there are many passages in them 
containing high notions of episcopal authority and eccle- 

* See Dr. Cook's draft of the episcopate of Bishop Timothy, the model 
by divine title, on his plan, of all succeeding bishops, p. 8. In the Litany 
of the Church of England there was formerly this petition, — " From the 
tyranny of the bishop of Rome, and all his detestable enormities, good 
Lord deliver us." By order of Queen Elizabeth, who was somewhat ten- 
derly concerned not to offend the pope, this passage was struck out. But 
surely Protestants of the present day may most rationally, most scripturally, 
and most devoutly pray, — From an episcopal scheme, which claims by divine 
right the elevation of fallen, fallible men to such dignity and power above 
their fellow-men, their fellow-Christians, and their fellow-ministers, good 
Lord deliver us ! 


siastical jurisdiction. " While he strenuously opposed 
the domination of one pope," continues the learned and 
ingenious archdeacon, " he seemed in some manner to 
make as many popes as bishops, and mere arithmetical 
naughts of the rest of the Christians ; which yet, I 
believe," he adds, "was not his intent."* 

Charity would lead us to hope as much of the inten- 
tions of Dr. C. 

Whatever rank then Dr. C. may be disposed to assert 
for such bishops as he contends for, if presbyters stand 
in the place of the apostles, this is enough for us. We 
neither ask nor wish any thing more or higher. And 
whether this be not the explicit testimony of those epis- 
tles of Ignatius which Dr. C. avers to be genuine and 
most unexceptionable, I shall submit to the judgment 
of the reader, after laying before him the following 
recapitulation of the specific clauses touching this point. 

" Your presbyters in the place of the council of the 
apostles? Epistle to the Magnesians, sect. 6. 

That is, as the preceding clause demonstrates, "your 
presbyters [presiding] in the place of the council of the 

"Also be ye subject to your presbyters as to the apos- 
tles of Jesus Christ our hope." Epistle to the Trallians, 
sect. 2. 

" And the presbyters as the sanhedrim of God, and 
college oftlie apostles? lb., sect. 3. 

That is, as the context shows, Let all reverence the 
presbyters as the sanhedrim of God, and college of the 

" And the presbytery as the apostles." Epistle to the 
Smyrneans, sect. 8. 

That is, as the context here also demonstrates, See 
that ye all follow the presbytery as the apostles. 

I remark here by the way, and shall have occasion to 

* Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, vol. i, p. 415. 


notice it again, that by the " presbytery," in this place, 
is incontestably meant— not an office — but the body of 
presbyters, as contradistinguished from the bishop and 
the deacons, severally, and from them both together. 
The reader will please bear in mind this ancient use of 
the term by an apostolical father, as Dr. C. contends, 
a disciple of the apostles, and so near the apostolic age. 
It will be important in the argument in another place. 
It may be proper also to observe at this stage, that it 
is not my purpose, or my place, to volunteer in the vin- 
dication of Dr. Miller. In the main point, — the validity 
of ordination by presbyters, — that eminent divine and 
we entirely agree. In others we differ, and, I trust, 
agree to differ ; neither of us regarding a difference of 
judgment or practice in matters of polity, a sufficient 
occasion for schism among Christians, in the true Scrip- 
tural sense of this term , but still recognising the com- 
munion of each other as within the covenant mercies 
of the Father of mercies, and the comprehensive pale 
of the catholic church.* 

I may be permitted here also to say, that a very large 
portion of Dr. C.'s authorities and arguments against 
the Presbyterian scheme of parity, as advocated by 
Dr. Miller, are entirely irrelevant and harmless, as will 
hereafter be shown,! in regard t*> the Methodist Epis- 
copal polity, which recognises both an order of bishops, 
officially superior to presbyters, arid the order of dea- 
cons as ministers of Christ. 

In combating Dr. Miller, Dr. C. occasionally avails 
himself of a reference to Methodist usages, to help out 
his argument. For example . — from the language of 
Ignatius to Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, charging him 
to let his assemblies be more full, — to inquire into all 
by name, — and not to overlook the men or maid ser- 

* See note B, Appendix. [Never written. — Ed.] 

t [This the author probably designed to do in the second part of his 
Essay, which, as has been already stated, was never written. — Ed.] 


vants ; Dr. Miller contends that the bishop of that day 
was the pastor of a single church, and not a diocesan 
in the modern sense. Dr. C. answers, " This can be 
done without personal acquaintance. The preachers 
of the Methodist travelling connection on many circuits 
have above a thousand, and on some twelve or fourteen 
hundred persons under their care, sometimes spread 
over circuits of fifty or sixty miles in extent, and they 
inquire into all by name, — not overlooking the men and 
maid servants, — every four weeks."* This is certainly 
a high compliment to us. I only wish it were strictly 

But if our economy, — may I say, without seeming to 
assume too much, our excellent economy, — helps Dr. C. 
out in one instance, does not justice require that Dr. 
Miller should have the benefit of it in another 1 for it 
is in truth a middle ground, which certainly solves very 
many of the difficulties between the two extremes, and 
on which the contending parties might happily meet, 
were there mutually that disposition to Christian con- 
cord which we should be happy to see prevail. Dr. C 
says, for example, in another place, that if Dr. Miller 
could establish one of his statements alluded to, "he 
would make a difficulty which he would find it not easy 
to solve. For no presbyter, the pastor of a church, has 
a presbytery, or council of presbyters, in his church, 
who are his brothers* and colleagues."] 

Now, if Dr. C. or Dr. M. will look again into the 
usage of the Methodist Episcopal Church, they will find 
an easy solution of that difficulty also. The very thing 
alleged by Dr. C. as never existing, exists at this mo- 
ment among us, in New-York, in Baltimore, in Charles- 
ton, in Cincinnati, and in many other places which 
might be named. 

The next ancient Christian writer to whose testimony 

•Page 26. t Page 79. 


reference is made in this controversy, is Poly carp* 
Dr. C. indeed seems not to have found much in this 
father to his purpose, although he wrote after Ignatius, 
and consequently might be expected to speak still more 
strongly on the distinction of the three orders, if it then 
existed, since it is well known that after it once obtained 
footing it never retrograded, but steadily advanced till 
the completion of the entire hierarchal structure. 

It is true, as I have before remarked, that Dr. C. 
claims the testimony of Polycarp as identical with that 
of Ignatius, in consequence of some general expres- 
sions of the former in regard to the epistles, and the 
personal worth of the latter. In answer to this, I have 
above said that all the arguments which go to disprove 
the genuineness, or at least the integrity, of the epistles 
ascribed to Ignatius, serve equally to render it at least 
entirely uncertain whether Polycarp ever saw them as 
we now have them, and especially those very passages 
on which Dr. C. mainly relies, which are especially sus- 
picious, and consequently cannot be fairly made the 
ground of any certain argument. But, even supposing 
it otherwise . then, according to Dr. C. : s own showing, 
we have the additional testimony of Polycarp that 
presbyters stand in the place of the apostles. In proof 
of which I refer the reader to the quotations made 
above, from Dr. C.'s own edition of Ignatius's epistles. 
And this, I repeat, concedes all that we have the slight- 
est inclination even to ask in the argument. 

Dr. C. urges the fact that if the epistles of Ignatius 
" represent the presbyters as standing in the place of the 
apostles, they place the bishop as far above them as 
he could by any language be represented to be :" p. 20. 
What, then, will he say to the testimony of Polycarp, 
who, throughout his whole epistle to the Philippians, 

* Dr. Miller places Polycarp in chronological order before Ignatius. Dr. 
Campbell, however, more correctly I think, remarks that the writings of 
Ignatius are supposed to have preceded those of Polycarp. Lectures, p. 73. 



speaks of two orders only of ministers, viz., presbyters 
and deacons, never even naming that of bishop, but, 
on the contrary, enjoining the people to be subject to 
the ir presbyters and deacons as to God and Christ. 
Could he, by any language, have represented any order 
higher than this ? and had he known any order in the 
church then superior to that of the presbyters, to which 
they themselves owed subjection, could he, even de- 
cently, have adopted the highest possible similitude to 
illustrate the obedience due to their order ? Nay, farther, 
when in the same epistle he lays down the duties and 
qualifications of deacons and presbyters, wherein every 
thing befitting judges and governors is included, and 
those of the people also throughout the epistle, is it not 
unaccountable that he should never even mention or 
allude to what was proper on the part of the higher 
order, or on the part of the presbyters, deacons, and 
people, toward such higher order, if he knew of any 
such then existing ? Let common sense answer these 

* A specimen of the facility with which Dr. C. begs a question, when he 
can find no more logical mode of settling it, is furnished in a remark which 
he makes respecting Polycarp, p. 84. He had just observed that Dr. Miller 
roundly admits, in the outset of his reference to this father, that Polycarp 
speaks of two orders of ministers ; and then adds, — " and when we know 
that he himself belonged to a third." Now does not Dr. C. " know" that 
this is the very point in debate 1 Yet nothing is more common than such 
dogmatizing throughout his book. Another similar instance just strikes my 
eye, near the same place, p. 85. He had just referred again to what is 
alleged from Ignatius, " in support of the three orders ;'' and then adds, 
"that we could not have any thing of an opposite character from Polycarp, 
is evident from the circumstance of his being himself bishop of the church 
at Smyrna, with presbyters under /(/«." Is evident! In what school of 
logic has such arguing been learned ? If the simple fact that Polycarp was 
bishop, superintendent, overseer, or rector of the church at .Smyrna, with 
presbyters under him, proves conclusively that he was therefore necessarily 
of a third order of ministers, by divine right, inherently and essentially dis- 
tinct from and superior to the order of presbyters, then the controversy is 
ended. But surely it cannot be necessary to remind the reader, if it be to 
remind Dr. C, that this is still the precise point in dispute. The very 
same sophism is used by Dr. C. on the next page (86) in regard to Cle- 
ment. I will only add here, that the whole of his effort, pp. HI, 85, to 
account consistently with his (Dr. C.'s) scheme, for Poly carp's omission of 



I cannot say, with Dr. C, that I think the represent- 
ing of any order in the church as standing in the place 
of God, or the reverence and obedience due to it, by 
that which we owe to the Almighty, " most unexcep- 
tionable." For my own part, I humbly think such com- 
parisons, whether in Ignatius or in Polycarp, very 
exceptionable. But then, if one early father thought 
proper to use them in reference to bishops, and another, 
his contemporary, who was also an apostolical father, 
and the disciple of an apostle, did so in like manner in 
reference to presbyters, is not the argument from their 
authority and language quite as good in the latter case 
as in the former 1 

In regard to the form of polity, however, the fact is, 
that the epistles of Ignatius and Polycarp, as we have 
them, cannot both, as Dr. Campbell remarks, be made 
applicable to the same state of the church. 

The difference between them is not a diversity in 
style, but a repugnance in sentiment . so that we are 
forced to conclude that in the writings of one or the 
other there must have been something spurious or inter- 
polated. " Now," continues the same able critic, " I 
have heard no argument used against the authenticity 
of Polycarp's letter equally cogent as some of the argu- 
' ments employed against the authenticity of the epistles 
of Ignatius. And, indeed, the state of the church, in no 
subsequent period, can well account for such a forgery 
as the epistle of the former to the Philippians ; whereas 
the ambition of the ecclesiastics, for which some of the 
following centuries were remarkable, renders it ex- 
tremely easy to account for the nauseous repetition of 

any mention whatever throughout his epistle, of any such superior third 
order, is totally overthrown by his using the highest similitude possible, as 
above stated, to illustrate the order of presbyters and the obedience due to 
them ; a similitude, certainly, which he could not with any propriety, or 
even decency, have applied to this order, had he known any higher in the 


obedience and subjection to the bishop, presbyters, and 
deacons, to be found in the letters of Ignatius."* 

I may add here, that Irenaus, who is the next of the 
ancient fathers introduced, testifies of Polycarp, who, 
as Irenseus affirms, was taught by the apostles, and con- 
versed with many of those who had seen our Lord, that 
" he always taught those things which he had learned 
from the apostles, which he likewise delivered to the 
church, and which are alone true." Book iii, chap. 3, 
Against Heresies. In the same paragraph he particu- 
larly mentions the " most excellent epistle of Polycarp 
to the Philippians, above cited, from which," he adds, 
" they who wish and have regard for their own salva- 
tion, can learn the character of his faith, and the doc- 
trine of the truth." 

Such then were Polycarp's views of church order, at 
least in the apostolical Philippian church, and such Ire- 
neeus's commendation of the " most excellent epistle" 
containing them. 

The objection that Polycarp was himself a bishop, 
will be noticed hereafter. I now proceed to Irenaus. 

At what precise time Irenseus wrote, authors are not 
agreed. Dr. Campbell says he is supposed to have 
written about the middle of the second century. Lord 
King places him about the year 184. And Dr. Miller 
says he is said to have suffered martyrdom about the 
year 202. For this even Dr. C. adopts the same date, 
p. 81. How long it was before his martyrdom that his 
work against heresies was written, does not appear. 
There is one passage in the third book, however, which 
strongly inclines me to adopt the latest of the dates 
assigned for him. It is that in which he mentions as a 
thing observable, that when he was a youth he himself 
had seen Polycarp , and states at the same time that 
Polycarp attained a very great age before his martyr- 
dom. Now the date assigned for Polycarp's writings 

* Lectures on Ecclesiastical History, p. 97. 


by Lord King is the year 140, and it is probable that 
they were at least not much earlier ; and if so, then 
that those of Irenseus did not appear till considerably 
after the middle of the second century, and probably not 
till toward the latter part of it. Now it is acknow- 
ledged that by that time a distinction between bishop 
and presbyters, as of different orders, began to prevail, 
although it was much less considerable than it became 
afterward. This fact, therefore, may reasonably be sup- 
posed to have influenced the style of Irenseus's writings, 
and accounts for the difference in this respect between 
him and Polycarp. 

In regard to the character of Irenseus, and the weight 
due to his testimony, I wish not to detract from it. 
Yet, as in all other uninspired human compositions, so 
also in those of the ancient Christian writers in par- 
ticular, due allowance must be made for the time and 
the circumstances in which they wrote, which had a 
pervading influence both on their turn of thought and 
their style of expression. And in regard to Irenseus 
himself, notwithstanding Mosheim's commendation of 
the " erudition" of his books against heresies, for that 
is the amount of it, another very eminent critic, himself 
an Episcopalian — I mean Archdeacon Jortin — says of 
that ancient father, " I fear it will be no very easy task 
to clear him entirely from the imputation of credulity 
and inaccuracy."* 

Dr. C, moreover, seems to suppose, or leaves his 
readers to suppose, that Irenseus wrote in Latin; and 
hence he appends to his own work the third chapter of 
the third book of Irenseus against heresies in Latin, 
without stating that this not only was not the original, 
but that, even as a translation, it is pronounced by an 
able judge to be excessively barbarous.] 

* Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, vol. i, p. 363. 
fSee Dr. Maclaine's note, Mosheim, vol. i, p. 177. 


In introducing his quotations from Ireneeus, Dr. C 
says, "The following is a translation of the third chap- 
ter of the third of those books Against Heresies—" * 
Would not readers generally infer from this, that he 
meant a translation from the original ? Whereas, if he 
would not make an erroneous impression, he should 
have said, — The following is a translation of a transla- 
tion : to which, on the authority of Dr. Maclaine, I add, 
and that an excessively barbarous one. 

Dr. Miller makes a quotation from the fourth book 
of Irenseus, ch. xliv, which is rendered thus "We 
ought therefore to adhere to those presbyters who keep 
the apostles' doctrine, and together with the presbyterial 
succession, do show forth sound speech. Such presby- 
ters the church nourishes; and of such the prophet 
says, I will give them princes in peace, and bishops in 
righteousness." In his criticisms on this quotation, Dr. 
Cooke says, " The passage runs thus in Irenseus 
' Adhserere vero his qui," ' &c. f Would not readers 
generally most fairly and reasonably infer from this, 
that Dr. C. meant to convey the idea that these were 
the identical words of Irenseus himself? It may not be 
amiss then to inform such that this is altogether a mis- 
take ; Irenseus did not write in Latin at all, but in 
Greek : and that we have not even an opportunity to 
compare the barbarous Latin of his translator, in this 
part of the work, with the original ; since the first book 
only of Irenseus is extant in the original Greek, the rest 
being preserved to us only in the barbarous Latin trans- 
lation. Yet on this Dr. C. would build criticisms and 
inferences of such immense importance to the very 
being of the Christian church ! I pray thee have us 

But I will take Dr. C. on his own criticism. The 
phrase " cum presbyteri or dine" from the Latin transla- 

* Page 71. t Page 76, note. 


tion of Irenseus, is rendered in Dr. Miller's quotation, 
" with the presbyterial succession." Now, says Dr. C, 
" To bear this signification, there should be an adjective 
to agree with ordine, or the noun should be in the plural, 
presbyterorum. As it stands, it can only mean some- 
thing belonging to a presb}4er. We frequently meet 
with the expression successiones episcoporum, not epis- 
copi : so, if this passage meant presbyterial succession, 
or a succession of presbyters, the word used would 
have been presbyterorum, not presbyteri"* Well, let us 
take, then, the following passage from the same Latin 
translation of Irenseus, and apply his own rule to it : — 
" Cum autem ad earn iterum traditionem quse est ab apos- 
tolis quse per successiones presbyterorum in ecclesiis cus- 
toditur, provocamus eos, qui adversantur traditioni, 
dicent se non solum presbyteris, sed etiam apostolis 
existentes sapientiores, synceram invenisse veritatem." 
Lib. hi, cap. 2. Here we have the precise phrase " suc- 
cessiones presbyterorum" which, according to Dr. C. 
himself, means presbyterial succession. Indeed, if " suc- 
cessiones episcoporum" means episcopal succession, as he 
contends, then " successiones presbyterorum," by his own 
rule, must mean presbyterial succession. He must in- 
evitably admit both or give up both, or renounce all 
pretensions to candour in criticism. 

Let it be especially noted here, also, that in the above 
cited passage from Irenseus, not only are the successions 
of presbyters mentioned as the channel through which 
the apostolic tradition [whether of doctrine or order] had 
been preserved in the churches, but no notice whatever 
is taken of any superior order ; an omission, which, had 
there been any such of the distinct supreme rank 
which Dr. C. alleges for bishops, would, to say the 
least, have been extremely unbecoming, and would 
argue very little in favour of the accuracy of the author. 

* Page 76. 


Granting then that the phrase " successiones episcopo- 
rum" is also to be met with, — what does this prove ? It 
proves precisely what we believe to be the true and 
candid view of the subject : that is to say, that even 
down to the time of Irenesus, and to the end of that cen- 
tury, either no difference of order was considered as 
existing between presbyters and bishops, or the differ- 
ence was regarded as so small and unessential, that 
these titles were frequently interchanged by the writers 
of those times. In fact, as Dr. Campbell affirms, and 
as the above passage plainly shows, Irenseus talks in 
much the same style of both. What at one time he 
ascribes to bishops, at another he ascribes to presbyters. 
He speaks of each as entitled to obedience from the 
people, as succeeding the apostles in the ministry, and 
as the succession through which the apostolic doctrine 
and tradition had been handed down. 

That the names bishop and presbyter are often inter- 
changed by Ireneeus, as well as other writers of his 
time, even to the end of the century, is admitted by the 
learned Bishop Pearson, who, however, maintains that 
this happened only when they spoke of the ministry in 
general terms, or mentioned those ministers only who 
had preceded them; affirming that, in regard to their 
own contemporaries, the offices of individuals are never 
thus confounded. Dr. Campbell admits the truth of 
this remark, and considers it a very strong confirm- 
ation of the doctrine here defended. For what rea- 
sonable account can be given of this manner (other- 
wise chargeable with the most unpardonable inaccu- 
racy) but by saying that in the time of the predecessors 
of Irenseus there was no material distinction of order 
between bishops and presbyters ; whereas in his own 
time the distinction began to be marked by peculiar 
powers and prerogatives. If this had not been the case, 
it was as little natural as excusable to be less accurate in 
speaking of those that went before, than of those in his 


own time. Was it ever observed of writers in trie fourth 
and fifth centuries, to come no lower, that they in this 
manner confounded the different ecclesiastical offices of 
the third ? Is Cyprian, for instance, in any succeeding 
age, styled a presbyter of Carthage, or Rogatian the 
bishop? Are not their respective titles as uniformly 
observed in after ages as in their own ?* 

In regard to the passage above mentioned, as cited by 
Dr. Miller from Irenseus, book iv, chap, xliv., on which 
Dr. C. founds his criticism respecting the presbyterial 
succession, which I have just discussed, he subsequently 
adds as follows : " For the whole amount of it, as it 
stands, is, To such presbyters (as with the discipline 
of a presbyter show forth sound speech, &c.) I will 
give princes in peace, and bishops in righteousness. 
Certainly" [continues Dr. C] "it would not appear from 
this form of expression that the presbyter was the 

Whether this observation be solid or merely specious 
may be tested by an allusion to the same place of the 
prophet, by another more ancient and more immediately 
apostolical father, — I mean Clement, whose testimony I 
have before adduced. This father, in his epistle to the 
Corinthians, before mentioned, states, chap, xlii, that 
" the apostles, having preached the gospel in countries 
and towns, constituted the first-fruits of their ministry, 
whom they approved by the Spirit, bishops and deacons 
of those who should believe." And to show that he 
did not use these words vaguely, but as expressive of 
the distinct orders established by the apostles in the 
churches, he adds, " Nor was this a new device, inas- 
much as bishops and deacons had been pointed out 
many ages before ; for thus says the Scripture, ' I will 
constitute their bishops in righteousness and their dea- 

* Lectures on Ecclesiastical History, pp. 100, 101. 
t Pages 76, 77. 


cons in faith.' "* The passage alluded to is Isaiah 
lx, 17 Whether Clement's translation or application 
of it be correct is not now in question. It is enough 
for our present purpose that it shows clearly, not only 
what his opinion but what his knowledge was of the 
orders of ministers constituted by the apostles in the 
churches which they planted ; for to do this was his 
express design. Those whom in this passage he calls 
bishops, in other parts of the same epistle he calls pres- 
byters, demonstrating thereby that he uses the two terms 
interchangeably, as expressive of one and the same 
order. And most indisputably he speaks of but two 
orders in the apostolical churches, constituted by the 
apostles themselves , at the same time that his express 
object was to state the ministerial orders in the churches 
thus constituted. If, then, we interpret Irenceus by 
Clement, a more ancient father, and the fellow-labourer 
of St. Paul himself, we must say, in contradiction of 
Dr. C, that it would appear from his form of expres- 
sion, — Clement being interpreter, — both that the bishop 
Mas a presbyter, and that a presbyter was the bishop , 
in a word, that the ministerial degrees in the apos- 
tolical churches consisted of two orders only, whether 
called bishops and deacons, or presbyters and deacons. 
Keeping this in view, as placed in this clear light bv 
the venerable Clement, there remains no difficulty what- 
ever, on the principles of the Methodist Episcopal polity, 
in any part of the whole third chapter of the third book 
of Irenceus, or in any other quotation from that father, 
even as given in the translation of a translation, fur- 
nished by Dr. C. 

Dr. C. himself thus sums up his own view of the 
strongest points, extracted from Irenreus. 

" 1. That the apostles appointed bishops in all the 

* So the passage from Clement is rendered in Campbell's Lectures, 
p. 70. 


churches, and left them as their successors to govern 


2. That the episcopate or bishopric was delivered 
to one person, and one bishop only at a time, is ever 
mentioned as governing the church : thus the apostles 
delivered the episcopate to Linus, to govern the church at 
Rome ; Anacletus succeeded him, and after him, in the 
third place, Clement obtained the episcopate ; and the 
names of twelve successive bishops are given, who 
governed that church, each in his day , as indicated by 
the expressions, under Clement, under Anicetus. 

3. It is expressly stated that there were successions 
of bishops in all the churches, and that with the church 
at Rome, in which the names of twelve successive 
bishops are given, every church should agree, that is, 
those which were in all respects faithful. 

4. That Polycarp was taught by the apostles, and 
was by them appointed bishop of Smyrna."* 

Again : " Irengeus says," [continues Dr. C] " True 
knowledge is the doctrine of the apostles, &c. according to 
the successions of the bishops, to whom they (viz., the apos- 
tles) delivered that church which is in every place" &c.| 

And again : "In the twentieth chapter of the fifth 
book, speaking of those who derive their authority from 
the apostles, in comparison with heretics, he says, ' For 
they are all far behind the bishops to whom the apostles 
delivered the churches, and this we have with all careful- 
ness made apparent in the third book.' "f 

Now in all the above, there is nothing whatever in 
the slightest manner incompatible with the inherent 
identity of the order of bishops and presbyters, as the 
existing polity and usage of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, which give to the bishops official superiority 
among their fellow-presbyters and in the government 
of the churches, especially illustrate. This any intel- 

* Page 73. f Page 74. 


ligent and candid person who will take the pains to look 
into them may readily perceive and perfectly under- 
stand. For it has been proved from Clement, as above, 
that those whom the apostles constituted bishops in the 
churches which they planted, and whom they left their 
successors, delivering to them their own place of 
government, were of that order of ministers next above 
deacons, whom Clement sometimes calls bishops and at 
other times presbyters, and that no other intervening 
order whatever is mentioned or alluded to throughout 
his whole epistle. If Irenseus therefore does not con- 
tradict Clement, we must so understand him also ; and 
if he does contradict him, then Clement is the better 
authority of the two. 

But that Irenseus does in fact agree with Clement, 
there seems to me very plain and positive proof. In his 
fourth book, chap, xliii, he speaks of "those presby- 
ters in the church who have the succession, as he had 
shown, from the apostles ; who, with the succession of 
the episcopate, received the gift of truth, according to the 
good pleasure of the Father." This passage Dr. C. 
does not dispute ; but makes the following very just 
comment on it : " That Irenseus was here speaking of 
bishops is concluded from the word ' episcopate,' and 
from the reference to what he had said before."* Very 
true. This is exactly our own opinion. And hence it 
follows incontestably, according to this authority, that 
the true succession from the apostles, and " the succes- 
sion of the episcopate" itself, is with presbyters, one of 
them at a time, within his charge, whether less or 
more, being vested with official superiority in the 
government of his fellow-ministers and the churches, 
and yet being intrinsically and inherently but a pres- 
byter among presbyters, — though occupying the first 
seat and the first official degree, both in dignity and 

* Page 77. 


authority ; as the speaker of the House of Commons, 
in Great Britain, who, nevertheless, is still inherently 
but a commoner among commoners. 

Dr. C. himself, indeed, is compelled to admit "that 
Irenseus sometimes uses the word presbyter in speak- 
ing of those who govern the churches , qui prcesunt 
ecclesiis. There are three other passages in which he 
does the same." * 

Afterward, it is true, he makes an effort to neutralize 
this admission, on the principle that the apostles were 
sometimes called elders ; and of the saying of Hilary, 
"The bishop is the chief, — though every bishop is a 
presbyter, yet every presbyter is not a bishop." Very 
true. This again is exactly our own opinion. And it 
proves, according to Hilary also, that though every 
presbyter is not a bishop, yet that some presbyters are 
bishops ; for this is evidently the drift of the saying. 
Nor is this in the slightest measure contradicted by what 
Irenseus says in other places " of the church [of Rome, 
for example] being governed by the bishop, by one 
bishop at a time ;" or of those whose names he men- 
tions in succession, " who singly governed the church, 
each in his day." On the plan of the Methodist Epis- 
copal polity, presbyters do govern the churches " in the 
sense in which the word prcesunt is used." And whe- 
ther the term be applied to our bishops as general super- 
intendents, or even- to presiding elders within their dis- 
tricts, or to our ordinary presbyters in charge of circuits 
or stations in which there may be " many thousands of 
Christians and numerous presbyters," still it may be 
strictly said of them, " qui prcesunt ecclesiis," — who pre- 
side in or over the churches. 

The " most explicit passage on this subject," in the 
letter of Irenseus to Victor, bishop of Rome, admits of 
exactly the same solution. And on a careful review of 

* Page 77. 


what has been said, I now repeat the assertion of Dr. 
Campbell, and what he states has been admitted by 
Bishop Pearson, that the names bishop and presbyter 
are often interchanged by lrenseus , to which I add, 
that this interchangeable use of them, as essentially the 
same order, alone reconciles him both to himself and to 
that still more venerable ancient, Clemeris Romanus, 
who being among the first bishops of Rome itself, the 
very pattern and model of all other churches, according 
to lrenseus and Dr. C, certainly understood the true 
apostolical order. 

There remains one other " most explicit" passage, 
adduced by Dr. Miller from the letter of lrenseus to 
Victor, bishop of Rome, which I do not perceive that 
Dr. C. has noticed. It is as follows - — " Those pres- 
byters before Soter, who governed the church, which thou 
Victor, now governest, [the church of Rome,] I mean 
Anicetus, Pius, Huyginus, Telesphorus, and Sixtus, they 
did not observe it : [he is speaking of the day of keep- 
ing Easter •] and those presbyters who preceded you, 
though they did not observe it themselves, yet sent the 
eucharist to those of other churches who did observe 
it. And when blessed Poly carp, in the days of Ani- 
cetus, came to Rome, he did not much persuade Anicetus 
to observe it, as he (Anicetus) declared that the custom 
of the presbyters who were his predecessors should be 
retained." * 

In this decisive passage, those who had "singly 
governed the church [of Rome] each in his day," and 
" in succession," before the time of Victor, who was 
contemporary with lrenseus, probably between the 
middle and close of the second century, are uniformly 
styled, presbyters. This seems to me a very strong 
confirmation of the remark of Dr. Campbell, on the 
admission of Bishop Pearson above quoted, viz., that 

* Miller's Letters, pp. 152, 153. 


Irens&us, and other Christian writers of that century, 
used the names bishop and presbyter interchangeably, 
in reference to those who had preceded them, because 
the distinction of these church officers as two orders, 
although it began, perhaps, to be somewhat prevalent 
toward the middle of that century, yet had not, even to 
its close, become by any means so settled as it after- 
ward did ; and hence the great difference observable in 
this respect between the style of the Christian writers 
of the fourth and fifth centuries, for example, to come 
no lower, and those of the second. 

It cannot be necessary to repeat, in answer to Dr. C, 
what has so often been said, and is so perfectly obvious 
to. the plainest understanding, that the attributing of 
superiority in government and official elevation to the 
individual presbyter constituted bishop, does not in the 
.slightest degree invalidate the remark above made, or 
the argument founded on it. This is essential to our 
own hypothesis, and is exemplified both in fact and in 
language in our own ecclesiastical polity, now before 
the eyes of the whole community 

Before I introduce a quotation from another Christian 
father of the second century, I mean Clemens Alex- 
andrinus, who flourished about the close of the century, 
I must remind the reader that confirmation, as well as 
ordination, is deemed by high churchmen as one of the 
peculiar acts of a bishop. Dr. Miller had quoted Cle- 
mens Alexandrinus as saying, in reference to the im- 
propriety of women wearing false hair, — " On whom 
or what will the presbyter impose his hand ? To whom 
or what will he give his blessing ? Not to the woman 
who is adorned, but to strange locks of hair, and through 
them to another head." He had then remarked, that it 
is extremely doubtful whether Clement here alludes to 
confirmation at all, and that, if he does, it is the first 
hint in all antiquity of this rite being practised ; and it 
is especially unfortunate for the high church cause 


that Clement ascribes its performance to presbyters. 
Dr. C, however, admits it as a case of confirmation, 
and says, p. 87, " Here a presbyter confirms, which 
being (Dr. Miller argues) the office of a bishop, it is 
evident that bishops and presbyters are one. To this 
[continues Dr. C] it is replied, that in Egypt it was 
the custom, when the bishop was absent, for the presby- 
ters to confirm. 'Apud JEgyptum presbyteri confirmant, 
si prcesens nonsit episcopus? This very exception [Dr. 
Cook still continues] proves the rule, that it was 
the bishop's special duty It was only when he was 
absent that the presbyters confirmed ; and moreover, 
the statement that in Egypt this was the custom, implies 
that it was not the common practice of the church." In 
the greater part of this passage Dr. C. speaks sensibly 
and pertinently, and concedes, I think, every thing that 
we need in the argument. Let it. be especially noted 
that he does not deny that confirmation, as well as ordi- 
nation, is one of the peculiar acts of a bishop. And 
then he admits that when the bishop was absent the 
presbyter confirmed, although it was the bishop's special 
duty when present. The latter I grant very freely 
But if in his absence the presbyter might perform acts 
otherwise peculiar to him, then this proves that presby- 
ters possess an inherent capacity for the legitimate per- 
formance of such, acts, — although in churches episco- 
pally constituted, they are, for the sake of order and 
harmony, restrained by the custom or law of the church 
from the performance of such acts where there is a 
bishop. And this is all we ask. As to the remaining 
observation of Dr. C. that " the statement that in Egypt 
this was the custom, implies that it was not the common 
practice of the church," — I do not think that this is a 
necessary consequence. It may be, that Clement, being 
himself an Egyptian, meant to be understood as speak- 
ing of what was within his own knowledge, without 
intending to affirm or deny any thing as to the practice 


in other countries. Analagous phrases, moreover, on 
other subjects, will show at once that Dr. C.'s inference 
is not a necessary one from the premises. If it be said, 
for example, that in America there are persons of all 
conditions, and a great diversity of soils and climates, — 
does it by any means follow that the speaker must 
necessarily be understood as affirming that this is not 
the case in any other cpiarter of the world? Clearly 
not. No more, I think, is Dr. C.'s inference a neces- 
sary one from the observation of Clement. 

But be it, for argument's sake, that Clement so in- 
tended. Still it is thus proved by his testimony, that 
in Egypt at least, at that early period, this was deemed 
a legitimate practice : and let it not be forgotten, that 
besides the many other churches in Egypt, there was 
that of Alexandria especially, one of the most famous 
of all the ancient churches, the seat of Christian letters 
and science, and, next after Rome, the greatest city in 
the ancient world. That there may have been a diver- 
sity in some of the usages, and in the polity, in import- 
ant respects, among the primitive churches even of 
apostolical plantation, seems highly probable, as well 
from this instance, according to Dr. C.'s own view of it, 
as from other considerations. And this, too, is in per- 
fect accordance with our principles. 

There is one decisive witness, however, whose testi- 
mony as to the general usage, even down to a much 
later period, wholly overthrows Dr. C.'s inference from 
the above passage of Clement. The witness to whom 
I allude is Jerome, one of the most eminent Christian 
writers about the close of the fourth century and the 
beginning of the fifth. I shall hereafter have occasion 
for a much more particular reference to this father. At 
present, I merely wish to adduce that well-known 
passage in his famous letter to Evagrius : — " Quid enim 
facit, excepta ordinatione, episcopus, quod presbyter non 
faciat?" "For what does a bishop which a presbyter 



may not do, excepting ordination ?" In regard to ordi- 
nation, the consideration of this passage will be resumed 
in another place. At present I confine myself to the 
point in hand, viz., confirmation. Does not Jerome ex- 
pressly affirm in the above passage, — for the question 
is but a mode of strongly affirming, — that even in his 
time a bishop did nothing which a presbyter might not 
do, except ordaining ? Nor does he affirm this as an 
" exception," — as a thing limited to any particular place, 
— but as a well-known general fact, which would not 
then be disputed. Yet, plain as this is, and although 
Dr. C. himself, after Bowden, quotes this very passage 
in the English, to prove from Jerome that presbyters 
had not the right of ordaining, so obstinately is he bent 
on carrying his point, that in the very next paragraph, 
p. 107, he undertakes to draw an inference from another 
passage in the same Jerome, also taken from Bowden, 
that bishops had the exclusive right of confirmation also ! 
In other words, Jerome first says explicitly and posi- 
tively, in the interrogatory form of affirmation, that a 
presbyter might do any thing a bishop did, except 
ordination , and Dr. C. himself quotes and urges this ; 
yet in the next breath draws an inference from a vague 
and ambiguous passage, that Jerome's testimony is, 
that confirmation is the exclusive prerogative of a 
bishop, as well as ordination, and that presbyters could 
perform neither ! What may not be forced from a wit- 
ness if tortured in this way ? 

Just as easy would it be, on this plan of managing 
testimony, to reconcile Tertullian, whom he next intro- 
duces, with what he alleges from Ignatius. The latter 
asserts, according to Dr. C, that where there is not a 
bishop, priest, and deacon, in his sense, "there is no church." 
And Tertullian affirms that where there was none of the 
clerical order, even laymen both celebrated the eucha- 
rist and baptized, and served as priests to themselves : 
for that three persons, though laymen, make a church. 



" Ubi ecclesiastici ordinis non est consessus, et offers, 
et tinguis, et sacerdos es tibi solus. Sed ubi tres, eccle- 
sia est, licet laici."* 

After the above extract, I should suppose that nothing 
more, certainly, can be necessary to demonstrate that 
Tertullian at least was not of the sect of high church. 
But Dr. C. asserts, p. 91, that Tertullian and Ireneeus 
" agree entirely." How then does he reconcile this with 
a former assertion that Irenseus agrees with what he 
alleges from Ignatius ? For in regard to the essential 
constituents of a church, Tertullian and the alleged 
Ignatius are as diametrically at points as opposites can 
possibly be ; and things agreeing with one and the 
same thing ought to agree with each other. 

There is another passage of Tertullian in the follow- 
ing words : " Superest ad concludendam materiolam de 
observatione quoque dandi et accipiendi baptismum 
commonefacere. Dandi quidem habet jus summus sa- 
cerdos, qui est episcopus. Dehinc presbyteri et diaconi , 
non tamen sine episcopi auctoritate propter ecclesise 
honorem. Quo salvo, salva pax est. Alioquin etiam 
laicis jus est."f In English thus . — " It remains that 
I remind you of the custom of giving and receiving bap- 
tism. The right of giving it belongs to the highest 
priest, who is the bishop. Then to the presbyters and 
deacons, yet not without the bishop's authority, for the. 
sake of the honour of the church. This being secured, 
peace is secured. Otherwise even the laity have the 
right." Does this also " entirely agree" with what Dr. 
C. alleges from Ignatius, as to what is essential to the 
very being of a church by divine institution ? 

It is proper to apprize the reader that Tertullian is 
not a writer upon whose speculations we should repose 
implicit confidence ; although as to matters of fact and 

* Exhortatio ad Castitatem. Tertullian was the first of the Latin fathers, 
about the beginning of the third century. 
t De Bap. cap. xvii. 


custom he may be regarded as an ordinarily credible 
witness. The ill usage he received from the ecclesi- 
astics of Rome is supposed to have contributed to make 
him a Montanist, and thus, as Dr. Jortin remarks, he 
lost the title of saint. The same author adds, that 
though learned for his time he was deficient in judg- 
ment, and fell into many errors. Yet, in citing him, as 
I have done above, I have only to say, that if he be 
good authority for our opponents, then surely it cannot 
be unfair to turn their own artillery against themselves. 
Tertulliarts opinion then was that the priesthood itself 
is not of divine original, since by the gospel law all 
Christians are priests, and that, consequently, the dis- 
tinction between the priesthood and laity is of the 
church's making : — " propter ecclesice lionorem. — Alioquin 
etiam laicis jus est." So Dr. Campbell understood him, 
and so do I , and it is submitted to the learned reader 
whether this be not the obvious drift of Tertullians 
argument, and the true meaning of the passage cited 
by Dr. C. Does Dr. C. affirm that in this also Tertul- 
lian and Ireneeus " entirely agree," and does he himself 
adopt the sentiment ?* 

* The mantle of charity which that ingenious and learned critic Dr. Jor- 
tin casts over the learned African father now under review, with all his 
defects, may well be commended to the consideration of ecclesiastical con- 
troveriists and critics, in moderation of that odium theologicum which too 
often disfigures and disgraces their productions ; at the same time that the 
cause of truth itself is wounded through the intemperate zeal of overheated 
friends. After mentioning Tertullian's losing, that is, failing to receive, the 
title of saint, from the cause above stated, — a title, he adds, which hath 
been often as wretchedly bestowed as other titles and favours, — he thus 
continues : — 

" Charity bids us suppose that he lost not what is infinitely more import- 
ant. Several have thought too hardly concerning him ; never considering, 
that, with all his abilities, he was deficient in judgment, and had a partial 
disorder in his understanding, which excuses almost as much as downright 
phrensy. lie was learned for those times, acute and ingenious, and some- 
what satirical, hasty, credulous, impetuous, rigid and censorious, fanatical 
and enthusiastical, and a bad writer as to style, not perhaps through inca- 
pacity of doing better, but through a false taste and a perverse affectation. 
He fell into many errors : but it is to be hoped that in another world the 


But if Dr. C. means merely, as is possible, that Ter- 
tullian and Irenseus entirely agree as to the succession 
of the early bishops of Rome, then let us examine this 
point. Turning back to the translation of a translation 
of the third chapter of Irenseus's third book against 
heresies, as furnished by Dr. C, pages 71, 72, I find it 
there stated, as the tradition of the Church of Rome, 
that that church was founded " by the two most glori- 
ous apostles Peter and Paul ;" whereas Tertullian, in 
his account of the tradition of the same church, omits 
the name of Paul, and says that it " tells of Clement 
ordained by Peter " 

Again : Irenseus says, " The blessed apostles [not 
Peter alone] delivered the bishopric to Linus. "Tertul- 
lian says the tradition was that Peter delivered it to 

Again . Irenseus says, that it was after both Linus 
and Anacletus ; that " in the third place from the apostles 
Clement obtained the bishopric"! Whereas Tertullian 
says he was ordained directly by Peter Is this what 
Dr. C. asserts to be an entire agreement ? It strikes me, 
on the contrary, as widely differing in every particular. 

Now that I am on this point of the successions of the 
bishops of Rome, it may not be amiss to trace it a little 
farther. And here, I am sure, the reader cannot but be 
more forcibly struck with the inexplicable confusion 
and the irreconcilable contradiction which reign at the 
very head of the line , especially when he considers 
what stress is laid on this thing by the high-church sect, 
and that after all it is a mere matter of tradition, and of 
a tradition so ill at agreement even with itself. If such 

mistakes as well as the doubts of poor mortals are rectified, and forgiven too, 
and that whosoever loves truth and virtue, 

illic postquam se lumine vero 

Implevit, stellasque vagas miratus et astra 
Fixa polo, vidit quanta sub nocte jaceret 
Nostra dies." 

Remarks on Ecclesias. Hist. vol. i. p. 353. 
•Dr. C, page 91. t Page 72. 


be the true state of the case with regard to the very 
fountain spring, what possible certainty can there be in 
its ramified streams ? And is this a foundation for such 
a superstructure as high church would rear upon it ? 

At the very outset of an attempt to trace this matter 
farther, the fact presents itself, not only that Tertullian 
does not agree with Irenseus, but that he does not agree 
even with himself. " His list," says Dr. C.,* " is as fol- 
lows : Linus, Cletus, Anacletus, Clemens, Evaristus, &c." 
Now, but a little before, p. 91, Dr. C. had himself ad- 
duced a passage from a different work of Tertullian's, 
in which it was stated that the tradition was that Cle- 
ment was ordained to the bishopric by Peter ; whereas 
in this list he stands in the fourth place in the succes- 
sion. Irenseus, as has been shown, assigns him the 
third place. Epiphanius, again, differs from Ireneeus 
by making Cletus the second, instead of Anacletus ; and 
from Tertullian by omitting Anacletus altogether ; and 
still farther, he differs from them all, by giving two 
Evaristuses in the line — which Dr. C. will have it, is 
merely mentioning Evaristus's name twice. Nay, Dr. 
C. himself, in attempting to harmonize Tertullian's 
conflicting statements, only makes a bad matter still 
worse for he shows that he contradicts the asser- 
tion and the cherished tradition of the church in Rome 
itself. There, on the spot, the church of the Romans 
asserted that Clement was ordained the first bishop by 
Peter. " On the contrary, [says Dr. C.,] he [Tertul- 
lian] says expressly, ' Hac cathedra, Petrus qua sede- 
rat ipse, locatum maxima Roma Linum, primum con- 
sidere jussit.' ' In this chair, in which Peter himself had 
sat, he commanded Linus, settled in Great Rome, Jirst 
to sit.'" f 

Here is not only confusion itself confounded, but 

* Page 97 

t Page 99. [There are memoranda here indicating that the author in- 
tended to add more. — Ed. J 


palpable and irreconcilable contradiction, amidst which, 
being wholly at a loss which to believe, the only safe 
alternative seems to be to reject them all ; and especially, 
as it is altogether uncertain, in fact, whether even Peter 
himself ever was in Rome.* 

Dr. C. indeed has certainly a very fertile imagina- 
tion ; and conjectures (in which he quotes Cave as sup- 
porting him) that the difference between Irenseus and 
Epiphanius consists merely in misspelling names, — the 
one writing Cletus and the other Anacletus, but both 
intending only one and the same person. We prefer, 
however, to take the history as it stands, without the 
emendation of either Dr. C. or Cave. For as both Ire- 
nseus and Epiphanius were men of " erudition," it is to 
be presumed that they knew how to spell names of such 
distinction and notoriety, or to copy " a list," which Dr. 
Cooke takes upon himself to affirm " was kept in each 

* The whole of the traditionary statements (for they are nothing better) 
imputed to Irenaeus and other ancient fathers, respecting the foundation of 
that " greatest, most ancient, and universally known church" of Rome, " by 
the two most glorious apostles Peter and Paul," have very much the air of 
the fabrications of a later period. For it is certain, in the first place, that 
the church of Rome was not the " most ancient," if " the greatest," and in 
the second place, that Paul was not its founder, as is manifest from his own 
epistle to that church. The following observations, from Dr. Adam Clarke's 
preface to his notes on that epistle, place this matter in a clear light : — 

" When, or by whom, the gospel was first preached at Rome cannot be as- 
certained. Those who assert that St. Peter was its founder, can produce 
no solid reason for the support of their opinion. Had this apostle first 
preached the gospel in that' city, it is not likely that such an event would 
have been unnoticed in the Acts of the Apostles, where the labours of St. 
Peter are particularly detailed with those of St. Paul, which indeed form the 
chief subject of this book. Nor is it likely that the author of this epistle 
should have made no reference to this circumstance, had it been true. Those 
who say that this church was founded by these two apostles conjointly have 
still less reason on their side ; for it is evident from chap, i, 8, &c, that 
St. Paul had never been at Rome, previously to his writing this epistle. It 
is most likely that no apostle was employed in this important work ; and 
that the gospel was first preached there by some of those persons who were 
converted at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost ; for we find from Acts 
ii, 10, that there were then at Jerusalem strangers of Rome, Jews, and pro- 
selytes ; and these, on their return, would naturally declare the wonders 
they had witnessed ; and proclaim that truth by which they themselves had 
received salvation." 


church ;" and that in a matter of such importance they 
used diligence and care. And if they did not, then their 
histories are entitled to the less credit, 

In coming down to the time of Cyprian, a favourite au- 
thority with high-church writers, I have no hesitation to 
grant, not only that by that time the polity of the Christian 
churches generally was " episcopal," in the proper sense 
of this term, as indeed I believe it always was, but that 
Cyprian and other Christian writers of that age used a 
style clearly expressive of three official distinctions in 
the ministry, whether denominated orders, degrees, or 
by whatever other name they may be called. I am free 
to admit, also, that down to that time, about the middle 
of the third century, the powers and prerogatives of the 
bishops had been steadily advancing, and those of the 
presbyters gradually depressed, so that even at that 
period, the style and state of bishops, as compared with 
other presbyters, presented an aspect very different from 
that which had been exhibited either in the apostolical 
age, or in that which immediately succeeded the death 
of the last of the inspired college. At that period, 
moreover, and increasingly so thereafter, there are plain 
indications that presbyters were not only restricted from 
the actual performance of what was deemed the pecu- 
liarly sacred function of ordination, at least without the 
bishop's permission, (and in churches episcopally consti- 
tuted very properly so,) but that it became very unusual 
for the bishop to grant this permission , and, as Dr. 
Campbell has well remarked, the transition from seldom 
to never is very natural ; and just as natural, in our 
ways of judging, from w T hat is never done to what can- 
not lawfully be done. 

The true question, however, and the only true ques- 
tion, at this stage of the controversy, still remains, and 
is wholly unaffected by any of the above admissions. 
It is not whether presbyters actually did ordain at the 
period in question, either alone or in conjunction with a 


bishop as his colleague, — but whether it was even then 
generally judged and admitted that there either is any- 
thing essential in the character of the ministry itself, or 
of universal and perpetual obligation in its divine insti- 
tution, which makes it unlawful, invalid, and null for 
presbyters to perform this function in churches which 
have no bishops in fact, or with the permission or by the 
direction of the bishop in those which have, and where 
there are no laws, usages, or order of such churches to 
the contrary. On this question there is not wanting tes- 
timony in support of our views, even in Cyprian, as 
much as he was disposed to exalt the episcopal prero- 
gative, and to bring in an unlimited multitude of popes, 
while he manfully resisted the arrogant assumptions of 
one, as above shown. 

Dr. Miller, in reference to the sentiments of Cyprian, 
had said that he not only repeatedly calls the presbyters 
of Carthage his colleagues, but that in writing to them 
when he was himself in exile, he requests them, during 
his absence, to perform his duties as well as their own ; 
which seems plainly to imply that he considered them 
inherently capable in his absence, and by his permission 
or request, to perform whatever was deemed peculiar to 
the office of the bishop when present, as well as their 
own ordinary functions. Dr. C. answers that Cyprian's 
words are not quoted ; and that, supplying the defect 
from Hooker, what'Cyprian exhorted and commanded 
his presbyters to do was, " to supply his room in doing 
those things which the exercise of religion requires"* 
I ask then, whether the following, from Cyprian's fifth 
epistle, be not the place to which Dr. Miller alludes . — 
" Quoniam mihi interesse nunc non permittit loci con- 
ditio, peto vos pro fide et religione vestra, fungamini illic 
et vestris partibus et meis, ut nihil vel ad disciplinam vel 
ad diligentiam desit." 

* Page 94. 


Will not Dr. C. undertake to affirm that, to supply his 
(Cyprian's) room "in doing those things which the exer- 
cise of religion requires" is " an exact translation" of 
'■ fungamini illic et vestris partibus el meisV On the 
contrary, I appeal to every reader in the least acquainted 
with the Latin tongue, whether it be not an explicit en- 
treaty to them to perform, in the exigence of his neces- 
sary absence, the functions peculiar to his office when 
present, as well as those ordinarily their own ? And had 
he intended any limitation, and especially if he meant 
to except the chief function of all — ordination, would he 
not have said so, or have given some intimation of it 1 
Instead of this, he gives them but one simple general 
rule for their guidance, as long as it might be necessary 
for him to continue absent, and that was to perform the 
duties of his office as well as their own. And I submit 
it, moreover, to the unmystified understanding of every 
reader, whether, if a vacancy had actually occurred, 
either in the deaconship or the eldership of that church 
during Cyprian's absence, (which would have made it 
the more especially desirable that it should be filled,) 
the above request would not have been a sufficient war- 
rant, so far as Cyprian's sanction was concerned, to 
authorize the presbytery to proceed to supply such 
vacancy by an actual ordination. 

This view of the subject is greatly strengthened by 
the following passage, in a letter to Cyprian from Fir- 
milian bishop of Ccesarea, one of his contemporaries . — 
" Quando omnis potestas et gratia in ecclesia constituta 
sit, ubi prasident majores natu, qui et baptizandi et 
manum imponendi, et ordinandi possident potestatem."* 
That is, " Since all power and grace is established in 
the church, where elders preside, who have the power 
both of baptizing and imposing hands, and ordaining" 
On the original Latin of this passage, as above, the fol- 

* Cyprian's Epis., p. 75. 


lowing remarks of Dr. Campbell are so clear and satis- 
factory that I add them entire. 

" That by majores natu, in Latin, is meant the same 
with ■KpEapvTepoi in Greek, of which it is indeed a literal 
version, can scarcely be thought questionable. Besides, 
the phrase so exactly coincides with that of Tertul- 
lian, who says, ' Probati president seniores,' — approved 
elders preside, — as to make the application, if possible, 
still clearer. Indeed, if we were not to consider the 
Latin, majores natu, as meant to correspond to the 
Greek npe^vrepoi, the only translation we could give to the 
phrase used by Firmilian would be, ' where old men 
preside ;' an affirmation which could hardly ever have 
been in such general terms given with truth. For 
when the canonical age of bishops came to be esta- 
blished, it was no more than thirty , and it is a certain 
fact that, both before and after that canon, several were 
ordained younger. I am far from thinking that under 
this term, 'majores natu,' those who were then pecu- 
liarly called bishops are not included, or even prin- 
cipally intended : but what I maintain is, that, now 
that the distinction had obtained, the use of so com- 
prehensive a term seems sufficiently to show that it 
was not his intention to affirm it of the latter order, 
exclusively of the former, else he would never have 
employed a word which, when used strictly, was ap- 
propriated to the former <order and not to the latter. — 
Thus the name priests, in English, in the plural num- 
ber, is often adopted to denote the clergy in general, 
both bishops and priests. But no intelligent person 
that understands the language, and does not intend to 
deceive, would express himself in this manner — ' In the 
Church of fEngland the priests have the power of bap- 
tizing, confirming, and ordaining.' Nor could he excuse 
himself by pretending that in regard to the two last ar- 
ticles, he meant by the word priests the bishops, exclu- 
sively of those more commonly, and for distinction's 


sake, called priests. Yet the two cases are exactly 
parallel; for in Firmilian's time the distinction of the 
three orders was, though not so considerable, as well 
known by the Christians in Cappadocia and in Africa, 
as they are at this day in England."* 

These just and forcible observations are also a full 
answer to a remark which Dr. C. makes, p. 96, on Dr. 
Miller's reference to the above passage, and which is so 
frequently repeated throughout his book, viz., " that 
some writers occasionally used the general term pres- 
byter, or priest, in speaking of the bishop." That they 
sometimes used the general term presbyters, or priests, 
inclusively of the bishop or bishops, is granted. But 
after that the distinction of three orders became general, 
as was the case in Firmilian's time, no sensible writer 
would choose this comprehensive term in describing the 
functions peculiar to bishops, as contradistinguished 
from, and exclusively of, presbyters, to whom, strictly, 
this designation is appropriate. On this point Dr. Camp- 
bell's illustration seems to me perfectly conclusive. 
" The name priests, in English, in the plural number, is 
often adopted to denote the clergy in general, both 
bishops and priests. But no intelligent person, that 
understands the language, and does not intend to de- 
ceive, would express himself in this manner — : In the 
Church of England the priests have the power of bap- 
tizing, confirming, and ordaining.' Nor could he excuse 
himself by pretending that in regard to the last two ar- 
ticles, he meant by the word priests the bishops, exclu- 
sively of those more commonly, and for distinction's 
sake, called priests." In regard to the parallel passage 
of Tertullian, quoted by Dr. Campbell as illustrative 
of the majores natu of Firmilian, Dr. C. thinks that the 
phrase, " President probati quique seniores," means 
" that certain approved old men presided ;" and then 

•Lectures on Ecclesiastical History, pp. 114, 115. 


adds, " and this term is so general that it certainly does 
not indicate presbyters particularly."* If by " particu- 
larly," Dr. C. means exclusively, it is granted. But does 
this general term exclude presbyters '! Does it indicate 
bishops in Dr. C.'s sense of bishops, and bishops only? 
This is the true question, and common sense, with 
common honesty, may answer it. 

In addition to what Dr. Campbell says as to the ren- 
dering of the phrase " old men," that it imputes to the 
writer an affirmation which could hardly ever, in such 
general terms, have been made with truth,— I may cite 
a passage from one of the letters of Ignatius, as fur- 
nished by Dr. C. himself: "Wherefore it will become 
you also not to use your bishop too familiarly, upon the 
account of his youth ; not considering his age, which 
indeed to appearance is young." Epist. to the Magnesians. 
So also Paul to Timothy, " Let no man despise thy youth." 

As to the observation which Dr. C. somewhere makes, 
that the period anciently denominated " youth" extended 
to a considerable age, it is wholly irrelevant ; because, 
in the first place, the writers of those times would not 
call old men those whom their language and custom 
classed among the young ; and in the second, the very 
charges given both by Ignatius and St. Paul show that 
Timothy and the Magnesian bishop were young in 
fact, and therefore liable to be treated too familiarly, if 
their elevated character and conduct did not protect them 
against it. 

But of all the extraordinary things in Dr. C.'s book, 
his representations of the views of Jerome surprise me 
most. Whether he has exhibited them justly and truly, 
the reader shall have an opportunity to judge. 

I had before occasion to remark, incidentally, that 
Jerome was a Christian writer of the latter part of the 
fourth century " A man," says Dr. Campbell, " who 

* Page 88. 


had more erudition than any other person then in the 
church, the greatest linguist, the greatest critic, the 
greatest antiquary of them all." This will probably not 
be disputed, and consequently the reader may well 
suppose that he was capable of expressing himself in- 
telligibly on a subject which he professedly took in 
hand to treat. Now let it be carefully observed, that 
the question here, for the present, is not whether Je- 
rome's views were right or wrong, but what were they , 
and has Dr. C. correctly and fairly represented them ? 
In the days of Jerome, then, it seems that some deacon 
had taken upon him to assert that the order of deacons 
was superior to that of presbyters. To come at his 
error, and at the same time to chastise his arrogance, 
Jerome, in his epistle to Evagrius, says : — " I hear that 
a certain person has broken out into such folly, that he 
prefers deacons before presbyters, that is, before bishops; 
for when the apostle clearly teaches that presbyters and 
bishops were the same, who can endure it that a minister 
of tables and of widows should proudly exalt himself 
above those at whose prayers the body and blood of 
Christ is made 1 Do you seek for authority ? Hear that 
testimony, — Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ, 
to all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi, with 
the bishops and deacons. Would you have another ex- 
ample 1 In the Acts of the Apostles Paul speaks thus 
to the priests of one church : Take heed to yourselves, 
and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made 
you bishops, that you govern the church which he hath pur- 
chased with his own blood. And lest any one should con- 
tend about there being a plurality of bishops in one 
church, hear also another testimony, by which it mav 
most manifestly be proved that a bishop and presbyter 
are the same. For this cause left I thee in Crete, that 
thou shouldst set in order the things that are wanting, and 
ordain presbyters in every city, as I have appointed thee. 
If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, &c. For a 


bishop must be blameless as steward of God. And to 
Timothy, Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was 
given thee by prophecy, by the laying on of the hands of the 
presbytery. And Peter, also, in his first epistle saith, 
The presbyters which are among you I exhort, who am 
also a presbyter, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, 
and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed ; 
to rule the flock of Christ, and to inspect it, not of con- 
straint, but willingly, according to God , which is more 
significantly expressed in the Greek ETnanonowrer, that is, 
superintending it, whence the name of bishop is drawn. 
Do the testimonies of such men seem small to thee ! 
Let the evangelical trumpet sound, the son of thunder, 
whom Jesus loved much, who drank the streams of 
doctrine from our Saviour's breast. The presbyter to 
the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth, 
And in another epistle, The presbyter to the beloved Gains, 
whom I love in the truth. But that one was afterward 
chosen, who should be set above the rest, was done as 
a remedy against schism , lest every one drawing the 
church of Christ to himself, should break it in pieces. 
For at Alexandria, from Mark the evangelist, to Hera- 
clas and Dionysius, the bishops thereof, the presbyters 
always named one, chosen from among them, and 
placed in a higher degree, bishop. As if an army should 
make an emperor ; or the deacons should choose one of 
themselves, whom they knew to be most diligent, and 
call him archdeacon."' Miller's Letters, pp. 184, 185. 

Again : in his commentary on St. Paul's epistle to 
Titus, the same very eminent father says . — 

" Let us diligently attend to the words of the apostle, 
saying, That thou mayest ordain elders in every city, as I 
have appointed thee. Who, discoursing in what follows 
what sort of presbyter is to be ordained, saith, If any one 
be blameless, the husband of one wife, &c, afterward adds, 
For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God, 
&c. A presbyter, therefore, is the same as a bishop ; and 


before there were, by the devil's instinct, parties in reli- 
gion, and it was said among the people, I am of Paul, 
and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, the churches were 
governed by the common council of presbyters. But 
afterward, when every one thought that those whom he 
baptized were rather his than Christ's, it was determined 
through the whole world that one of the presbyters 
should be set above the rest, to whom all care of the 
church should belong, that the seeds of schism might 
be taken away. If any suppose that it is merely our 
opinion, and not that of the Scriptures, that bishop and 
presbyter are the same, and that one is the name of age, 
the other of office, let him read the words of the apostle 
to the Philippians, saying, Paid and Timothy, the ser- 
vants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus that 
are at Philippi ; with the bishops and deacons. Philippi 
is a city of Macedonia, and certainly in one city there 
could not be more than one bishop, as they are now 
styled. But at that time they called the same men 
bishops whom they called presbyters, therefore he speaks 
indifferently of bishops as of presbyters. This may 
seem even yet doubtful to some, till it be proved by an- 
other testimony. It is written in the Acts of the Apos- 
tles, that when the apostle came to Miletus, he sent to 
Ephesus, and called the presbyters of that church, to whom, 
among other things, he said, Take heed to yourselves, and 
to all the flock over whom the Holy Ghost hath made you 
bishops, to feed the church of God which he hath purchased 
with his own blood. Here observe diligently, that calling 
together the presbyters of one city, Ephesus, he after- 
ward styles the same persons bishops. If any will 
receive that epistle which is written in the name of Paid 
to the Hebrews, there also the care of the church is 
divided among many, since he writes to the people, 
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit your- 
selves, for they watch for your souls, as those that must 
give an account, that they may do it with joy and not with 


grief, for that is unprofitable for you. And Peter (so 
called from the firmness of his faith) in his epistle saith, 
The presbyters which are among you I exhort, who am 
also a presbyter, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, 
and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed, 
Feed the flock of God which is among you, not by con- 
straint, but willingly. These things I have written to 
show that among the ancients presbyters and bishops 
were the same. But, by little and little, that all the 
seeds of dissension might be plucked up, the whole 
care was devolved on one. As, therefore, the presbyters 
know that by the custom of the church they are subject 
to him who is their president, so let bishops know that 
they are above presbyters more by the custom of the 
church than by the true dispensation of Christ , and that 
they ought to rule the church in common, imitating 
Moses, who, when he might alone rule the people of 
Israel, chose seventy with whom he might judge the 
people." Miller's Letters, pp. 180-183. 

After carefully perusing the above passages, without 
reference to any purposes of party or system, can any 
intelligent and candid reader doubt that Jerome intended 
(in vindication of the true primitive order of presbyters 
as divinely instituted, and in correction of the assuming 
deacon whose presumption was the occasion of the first 
passage) to assert, 

1. That in the apostolical age, and by the Divine in- 
stitution, bishops and presbyters were one and the same 
order : and that what he had written then was expressly 
to show that " among the ancients" this was the case. 

2. That it was as a remedy against schisms, after 
that age, viz. : when every one thought that those whom 
he baptized were rather his than Christ's, that it was 
determined through the whole world, that one of the 
presbyters should be set above the rest, to whom sub- 
sequently, and fully so by Jerome's time, the title bishop 
came to be distinctively appropriated. 



3. That the above change in the government of the 
churches took place, not all at once, but gradually, (pau- 
latim,) by little and little. How long it was before it 
became general or universal not being stated. 

1. That the true footing of the acquired superiority 
of bishops above presbyters was, that by the custom of 
the church, rather than by the true dispensation of Christ, 
they had, by little and little, been elevated to the official 
superiority of presidents, or presiding presbyters, to 
whom the rest, with their free consent, as seems plainly 
implied, and for the sake of order and harmony, had be- 
come subjected. In other words, that this state of things 
gradually took the place of the original primitive order, 
and was of the church's making, though for expedient 
and salutary purposes, and not of Divine institution, or 
by divine right. 

5. That the presidency or official superiority of 
bishops, which thus gradually took place in the church, 
was no other than such as the body of presbyters them- 
selves could and did confer. In proof of which, and in 
evidence that this actual practice had not wholly ceased 
until a comparatively late period, he adduces the noted 
instance of the famous church at Alexandria, as above 

This summary of Jerome's sentiments, which I beg 
the reader to compare with the passages above quoted, 
makes him consistent with himself, and with the express 
object of his letter to Evagrius, which was to show that 
presbyters, so far from being inferior to deacons, as 
some vain deacon had weakly or proudly asserted, were 
primarily of the same order with bishops. A contrary 
interpretation, on the other hand, makes his argument 
incoherent, inconsistent, and subversive of his avowed 

Dr. Miller remarks that it might be a matter of sur- 
prise to learn that some episcopal writers had ventured 
to say that Jerome merely conjectured that in the apos- 



tie's days bishops and presbyters were the same. What 
surprise may not justly be excited, to learn that Dr C. 
has the controversial hardihood roundly to affirm, and 
to endeavour to make his readers believe, " that this 
passage from Jerome, taken as it is offered, [that is, as I 
understand, taken as quoted by Dr. Miller, and above 
from him,] plainly declares that episcopacy [of course in 
the high-church sense asserted by Dr. C] was esta- 
blished through the whole world by a decree in 
the time of Paul and the other apostles, and conse- 
quently was done by them, and is therefore a Divine in- 
stitution." In other words, as he had said a little be- 
fore, that it was done " by all the apostles , originated 
with these inspired servants of God ; and is therefore 
a Divine institution, and absolutely binding on all the 
church." All which, whether directly, or by just and fair 
inference, Dr. C. asserts he has shown " that this pas- 
sage from Jerome, taken as it is offered, plainly de- 

That I do not misunderstand Dr. C. seems entirely 
clear from the various forms and places in which, in 
substance, he repeats this assertion, and especially from 
a sentence toward the conclusion of his discussion of 
this subject, in which he says, — "It is evident from the 
preceding examination of the passages from Jerome, quoted 
by Dr. Miller, that he [Jerome] fully supports the doctrine 
that episcopacy [of- course in Dr. C.'s sense] was estam 
blished by the apostles."-\ On which ground, as the very 
footing on whidh Jerome " plainly" places the matter, 
Dr. C. had asserted before that it is " therefore a Divine 
institution, and absolutely binding on all the church !" 

As the reader may possibly be curious to know by 
what occult power of the magical art Dr. C, through 
some twenty large pages, elaborates this extraordinary 
conclusion, and puts this perfect fool's-cap on Jerome, 

* Pages 102, 103. t Pa £ e 117 - 


I will endeavour, if I can, to make an abstract of it,— 
interspersing-, by the way, some occasional observations 
on the process. 

The grand fulcrum on which the whole lever of his 
argument rests, is the observation which Jerome makes 
in his commentary on Titus, in which, after saying, " a 
presbyter, therefore, is the same as a bishop," he adds, 
" and before there were, by the devil's instinct, parties 
in religion, and it was said among the people I am of 
Paul, I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, the churches were 
governed by the common council of presbyters. But 
afterward, when every one thought that those whom he 
baptized were rather his than Christ's, it was deter- 
mined through the whole world, that one of the presby- 
ters should be set above the rest, to whom all care of 
the church should belong, that the seeds of schism 
might be taken away." 

Now, says Dr. C, " the date of the circumstance 
mentioned by Jerome as having produced the change 
he speaks of, is easily determined. This circumstance 
is mentioned in Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, 
(i, 12.) — " He then goes into a detail to show the date 
of that epistle, and concludes thus " This was there- 
fore done by the apostles themselves ; and because 
done by inspired men, it is a divine institution."* The 
same thing, grounded on the same assumption, he reite- 
rates over and over, throughout the twenty pages. 

There are three [four] considerations, however, which 
totally overthrow this main pillar of Dr. C.'s whole 

1. The first is, as suggested by Dr. Miller, that some 
of the portions of the New Testament from which Je- 
rome adduces proof that bishops and presbyters were 
originally the same, were certainly written after the first 
epistle to the Corinthians. From which it is manifest 

*Page 101. 


that Jerome could not, without palpably contradicting 
himself, have intended to say that it was just at that 
time, when that first epistle to the Corinthians was 
written, that the change took place of which he speaks, 
and that it was then done by the decree of " all the 
apostles" themselves, for all the churches " through the 
whole world." 

2. Dr. C.'s arguments involve anachronisms which 
convict them of palpable error. In a former part of his 
work he undertook " to show from the Scripture," that 
it was in the state of anxiety for the welfare of the 
Ephesian church, in which Paul left Ephesus to go into 
Macedonia, as related in the twentieth chapter of Acts, 
that he committed to Timothy the episcopal charge of 
that church ; that his first epistle to Timothy, containing 
" full evidence of ample episcopal authority," — that is, 
of the ample episcopal authority committed to Timothy 
by Paul, — " was written in Macedonia, after Paul went 
there from Greece, and before he rejoined Timothy and 
the rest of his company at Troas."* 

Now if the reader will take the trouble to look at the 
twentieth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, he will 
see indisputable proof that all this was before Paul came 
to Miletus ; and thence sent for the elders of Ephesus 
to meet him there. If he will look at page 101 of Dr. 
C.'s book, he will also find that Paul's placing Timothy 
over the Ephesian church at that period, is alleged by 
Dr. C. as one of the instances of the change made in 
pursuance of the apostolical decree, on the occasion 
mentioned in first Corinthians. And yet it is on Paul's 
address to the elders of Ephesus at Miletus, subsequently 
to Timothy's being made bishop of Ephesus, according 
to Dr. C, that Jerome founds one of his principal argu- 
ments for the primitive identity of bishops and presby- 
ters! Is it possible, then, that Jerome's views and 
Br. C.'s could be the same 1 

* Pages 32-36. 


3. Dr. C. alleges also that Paul " set Titus over the 
Cretans" " in like manner, and with similar [episcopal] 
powers :" that is, as he had set Timothy over the Ephe- 
sians. " And other apostles [Dr. C adds] did the same 
in other places."'* And these episcopal appointments 
of Timothy and Titus by Paul, with others similar by 
other apostles in other places, he affirms were the very 
changes to which Jerome alludes, made " by the apos- 
tles themselves," at the time mentioned in first Corin- 
thians i, 12, and yet it was on Paul's epistle to Titus 
after he was placed in Crete, that Jerome founds his 
argument that bishops and presbyters were the same in 
the apostolical institutions and language at the time 
when that epistle was written ! 

4. The last consideration I shall mention is, that 
Dr. C.'s interpretation puts on Jerome a perfect fool's- 
cap. Because his express object was to show that as 
presbyters know that it is by the custom of the church that 
they are subject to him who is their president, so bishops 
ought to know that they are above presbyters, more by 
the custom of the church than by the true dispensation of 
Christ. The very reverse of which Dr. C.'s construc- 
tion forces upon him. 

The only rational construction, therefore, which it 
would seem, in fairness to Jerome, can be put upon his 
language is, that his reference to the passage in first 
Corinthians is by way of allusion merely, in the same 
manner as we still describe such parties in churches as 
addict themselves to favourite ministerial leaders, by 
representing them as saying, " I am of Paul, and I of 
Apollos, and I of Cephas." 

There was one consequence which Dr. C. found his 
construction involved in, which, one would think, should 
have convinced him. that he had misinterpreted Jerome. 
This distinguished father expressly says, that before 

"Page 101. 


there were by the devil's instinct such parties in religion 
as he speaks of, " the churches were governed by the 
common council of presbyters." No, says Dr. C, " he 
is certainly wrong in saying that ; even before the divi- 
sions at Corinth the church was governed by a common 
council of presbyters, except in subordination to the 
authority of the apostles."* Certainly, Dr. C. ; if Jerome 
had said so it would have been " certainly wrong ;" and 
he certainly was sufficiently acquainted with the New 
Testament to know this, and would never have risked 
his reputation on so silly an assertion. But he never 
said so, and the manifest absurdity of it proves that he 
never meant so , but that his allusion was to a period 
subsequent to the apostolical age, when the churches 
no longer enjoyed the superintendence of inspired guides 
and rulers ; and when ministers also— not the people 
merely, as in Corinth — began to form parties for them- 
selves rather than to make disciples of Christ. Dr. C. 
might, therefore, have well spared himself the long chain 
of argumentation by which he gravely labours to dis- 
prove the imputed sentiment of Jerome. The passages 
quoted from that very learned father do not express it, 
and there is the amplest reason to believe that he never 
entertained it. 

But Dr. C. thinks that he finds a flaw in Dr. Miller's 
translation of one word in the quotations from Jerome, 
which he conceives -calculated to support the idea "that 
a long time elapsed before bishops were set over the 
churches." The word objected to in the translation is 
11 afterward.'" That this word necessarily implies "a 
long time" after, I cannot perceive. However, Dr. C. 
states that the word used by Jerome, according to 
Jeremy Taylor, is postquam ; on which he then takes the 
occasion to furnish a critical disquisition of considerable 
length to prove that postquam does not mean afterward, 

*Page 117. 


but after that, literally, after which, referring to the time 
when a thing was done, " as [he continues] in this very- 
case from Jerome." That is to say, Dr. C. here affirms 
that according to the true critical import of this word 
postquam, Jerome meant to be understood that " before 
that time [viz., that precise period spoken of by Paul in 
his first epistle to the Corinthians] the common council 
of presbyters governed the church; after that, the 
bishops."* And yet it has been shown above that it 
was specially to apostolical epistles written after that 
time that Jerome refers, in proof that presbyters and 
bishops were still the same. 

But says Dr. C, "postea is the word Jerome would 
have used if he had meant what Dr. Miller attributes to 
him."| Well, although I have not Jerome's original 
w T ork at hand to examine, as it seems neither had Dr. 
C, yet, as he takes his extract from Jeremy Taylor, I 
will take mine from Dr. Campbell. Now Dr. Campbell 
extracts a passage from Jerome, which, if not taken 
from the same place as that quoted by Taylor, was evi- 
dently written by Jerome in reference to precisely the 
same subject and occasion. In that passage, according 
to Dr. Campbell's extract, postea is the word used by 
Jerome, and consequently, by Dr. C.'s own admission, 
means " what Dr. Miller attributes to him." The whole 
sentence, as quoted by Dr. Campbell, stands thus : — 
" Quod autem postea [Jerome had been speaking imme- 
diately before, says Dr. Campbell, of the times of the 
apostles] unus electus est, qui cseteris prseponeretur, in 
schismatis remedium factum est, ne unusquisque ad se 
trahens, Christi ecclesiam rumperet."^: 

* Page 115. t Ibid. 

^Lect. on Eccl. Hist. p. 118. ["But that one was afterward elected 
to be set over the rest was for the prevention of schism, that individuals 
might not sever the church of Christ by drawing off parties to themselves." 
The distinction between postquam and postea is too obvious to justify Dr. 
C.'s parade of learning in his very unnecessary attack on Dr. Miller's trans- 
lation. Postquam is a conjunction ; postea an adverb. They may both 


By Dr. C.'s own concession, then, this point is settled 
beyond farther controversy In another part of the pro- 
cess under review, Dr. C. asserts that " the express state- 
ment of Jerome, in the passage quoted by Dr. Miller, 
[as above given] establishes" the following particulars : — 
" 1. That the bishops of the primitive church were a 
distinct order of clergy from those presbyters who were 
authorized to preach and administer sacraments, and 
superior to them." 2. " That each bishop had under 
him a number of congregations, with their pastors, whom 
he governed." 3. " That this kind of episcopacy was 
considered by the whole primitive church as an institu- 
tion of Jesus Christ."! (Dr. C.'s numbering of the 
above particulars is 1, 3, and 5.) 

Now the reader will please observe, that the question 
here for the present is not whether this was the actual 
state of things in the primitive church, — that is, in the 
apostolical age, as is obviously meant, — but whether, in 
the passage quoted from Jerome by Dr. Miller, and 
copied above, it is " the express statement of Jerome" 
that it was so, and was so considered "by the whole pri- 
mitive church." This is Dr. C.'s unqualified assevera- 
tion. But although I have read over the passage in 
question again and again, and as carefully as I am able, 
if any one can find in it any such " express statement 
of Jerome" as Dr. C. avers it to contain, I must confess 
that his ocular as well as his mental vision must be 
strangely different from mine. 

Assuming then that the first and second of the above 
particulars (Dr. C.'s first and third) are established " by 
the express statement of Jerome," his next step in the 
process is to affirm that another " flows from them," 
viz., " that these bishops were exclusively invested with 

mean after that, but in different senses, as the English reader will perceive 
by an example. — " After that [postquam] presbyters ceased to rule the 
church, bishops governed it." " Presbyters first governed the church, after 
that, \postea,] bishops." — Ed.] 
fPage 104. 


the right of ordaining." To this the answer simply is, 
that Jerome's express statement establishes no such 
thing as Dr. C. affirms it does in the second particular 
above mentioned, and consequently, that this farther 
one said to " flow from" the others is equally imagin- 
ary Its foundation being taken away it falls itself, of 

In confirmation of his inference, however, Dr. C. re- 
peats a passage quoted by Dr. Bowden from Jerome, 
as follows " For what does a bishop which a presbyter 
may not do, excepting ordination." And then adds, — 
" This passage shows plainly that the presbyters had 
not the power of ordaining, but that this belonged exclu- 
sively to the bishop."* It shows plainly that this was 
the case in Jerome's time, about the close of the fourth 
century, I grant , but it shows nothing more. Indeed 
the whole drift of his argument, and the language he 
uses, both demonstrate that this was what he meant. 
He had been expressly proving that no distinction ori- 
ginally existed between bishops and presbyters ; that 
they were one and the same order; and that in the 
church of Alexandria, even down to a comparatively 
late period, presbyters had constituted their own bishop 
whenever a vacancy occurred, as the army in the days 
of imperial Rome made an emperor, or the deacons for- 
merly an archdeacon.f He then comes down to his own 

* Page 107. 

t With this case before him is it not surprising that Dr. C. should make 
the assertion he does, pp. 140, 111, that up [down 1] to the time of Euse- 
bius in the fourth century, there is no case of ordination by presbyters, as he 
believes, " even alleged" by the opponents of the high-church scheme 1 In 
contradiction of this, I need only cite that very eminent critic, Dr. Camp- 
bell, whose works are common in this country as well as in Europe, who, 
in reference to this very case, thus expresses himself: — " I know it has been 
said that this relates only to the election of the bishop of Alexandria, and 
not to his ordination. To me it is manifest that it relates to both ; or, to 
express myself with greater precision, it was the intention of that father 
[Jerome] to signify that no other ordination than this election, and those 
ceremonies with which the presbyters might please to accompany it, such 
as the instalment and salutation, was then and there thought necessary to 


time, using the present tense of the verb, not the past, — 
" Quid enimfacit, excepta ordinatione, episcopus, quod 
presbyter not faciat." " What does a bishop ?" &c. As 
if he had said, " Even now, what power does a bishop 
exercise which a presbyter may not exercise, except the 

one who had been ordained a presbyter before ; that, according to the 
usage of that church, this form was all that was requisite to constitute one 
of the presbyters their bishop." Lect. on Eccles. Hist., p. 117. Here 
then is alleged a series of instances, before the time of Eusebius, in one of 
the most renowned churches of antiquity, of the ordination in form or in 
fact even of bishops by presbyters. Yet Dr. C, with his characteristic 
boldness of assertion, affirms in another place, page 146, that " before the 
fourth century such a thing [as ordination by presbyters] does not appear to 
have been thought of!" 

But long before Dr. Campbell the same thing was alleged, in terms, if 
possible, still more explicit, by that most reverend, very learned primate of 
Ireland, Archbishop Usher. In his letter to Dr. Bernard, that eminent 
Episcopalian says, — " I have ever declared my opinion to be that episcopus 
et presbyter, gradu tantum differunt non ordine, [that bishop and presbyter 
differ in degree only, not in order,] and consequently, that in places where 
bishops cannot be had, the ordination by presbyters stands valid." And in 
his answer to Baxter the same distinguished prelate says, " that the king 
[Charles I.J having asked him at the Isle of Wight, whether he found in 
antiquity that presbyters alone ordained any ? he replied Yes, and that he 
could show his majesty more, — even where presbyters alone successively 
ordained bishops : and instanced in Hierom's [Jerome's] words, (Episl. ad 
Evagrium) of the presbyters of Alexandria choosing and making their own 
bishops, from the days of Mark till Heraclas and Dionysius." This then 
was alleged by that very learned episcopal antiquary, not only as a case of 
ordination by presbyters before the time of Eusebius, but of the successive 
ordinations of bishops by presbyters for about two hundred years. It shows, 
moreover, that he understood Jerome exactly in the sense here averred. 
And it ought not to be forgotten, that, in addition to his pre-eminent qualifi- 
cations as a critic and antiquary, he was himself an archbishop* 

The Smectymnian divines, in the same age with Usher, alleged various 
proofs of presbyters ordaining, evidently within the period alluded to by 
Dr. C.f Smectymnuus was a fictitious name composed of the initial letters 
of the names of Stephen Marshal, Edward Calamy, Thomas Young, 
Matthew Newcomen, and William Spurstow. 

The Rev. Ezekiel Cooper, an eminent and venerable minister of the Me- 
thodist Episcopal Church, alleged the same in his Funeral Discourse on the 
late Bishop Asbury.J It was also alleged in the work entitled " A Defence 
of our Fathers, and of the original Organization of the Methodist Episcopal 

* Dr. C. takes upon him to say, p. 180, that there is no author produced in support of 
the latter statement, above mentioned, in reference to Archbishop Usher, and yet, in the 
note to Neal's History of the Puritans, the authority for it is distinctly stated. Neal's 
History of the Puritans, Am. Ed. vol. ii, pp. 412, 413, note, and the reference there to 
Baxter's Life, p. 206. 

t Ibid. p. 412. 

j Appendix, pp. 218, 219. 


single one of ordaining?" And even this superiority, 
in the single item of ordaining, according to the tenor 
of Jerome's whole argument, was "by the custom of the 
church" (consaetudine ecclesice,) rather than by " the true 
dispensation of Christ ." that is, of the Church's making, 
and not of Divine institution. It may not be amiss to 
observe, that even among the papal doctors and theo- 
logues in the famous council of Trent, the sentiment 
last named was precisely the construction put on the 
language of Jerome , and it was added that St. Austin, 
(Augustine,) another very eminent father of that age, and 
himself a very distinguished bishop, was of the same 
opinion. Some disputed in the council that " the degree 
of a bishop was an order ; and others that aboue priest- 
hood there was nothing but iurisdiction — and some beeing 
of a middle opinion, that is, that it is an eminent dignitie, 
or office in the order. The famous saying of St. Hierom, 
[Jerome,] and the authority of St. Austin, [Augustine] 
were alleaged, who say that the degree of a bishop hath 
been most ancient, but yet an ecclesiasticall constitu- 

But what is yet most amazing, if any thing in Dr. C. 
can any longer amaze, after himself quoting a plain ex- 
plicit passage in Jerome in proof that a presbyter could 
do every thing that a bishop did, with one single excep- 
tion, — that of ordination, — in the very next paragraph 
he says, " It is shown by another passage from Jerome, 
' that there was also another thing that a bishop did 
which a presbyter could not do, viz., confirmation : thus 
in the same breath making Jerome affirm and deny the 
same proposition. Is it not more probable that Dr. G. 
misinterprets Jerome in the place last alluded to, and 
from which he draws his inference, (for it is but an in- 
ference,) than that that eminent father thus palpably con- 
tradicts himself ? One would suppose that the obscure 
passage should rather be interpreted by the plain one. 

* Paul Sarpis' Hist, of the Coun. of Trent, p. 591. 


Another conclusion at which Dr. C. arrives, in the 
logical process under review, is, that " in Jerome's esti- 
mation apostles and bishops were the same."* 

Now it has been most unequivocally proved above, 
that "in Jerome's estimation," in the apostles' days, 
bishops and presbyters were the same : and as things 
equal to one and the same thing must necessarily be 
equal to each other, it follows most conclusively that 
"in Jerome's estimation" apostles and presbyters were 
the same. If Dr. C. rejects this consequence, I still 
submit it to the reader. 

All that Dr. C. says in regard to the Alexandrian or- 
dinations by presbyters, — even of bishops by presby- 
ters, — will be so completely, and I must think conclu- 
sively answered in an extract on that subject from an 
eminent critic, which I shall presently submit to the 
reader, that I judge it preferable to waive any remarks 
of my own in regard to it, when others so vastly better 
than any I am capable of are furnished to my hand. 

I may just observe, by the way, that I have become 
so familiarized in Dr. C.'s style with such phrases as 
the following — " it is impossible that they could have 
been ordained by presbyters," — " neither can it be be- 
lieved," — " could not possibly have passed unnoticed," 
&lc, &c, that they no longer occasion me any alarm. 
And it has particularly occurred to me that, possibly, 
there may be a wider range in possibility than Dr. C. 
has well considered. 

He adds as a final remark, too, that " Blondel admits 
that episcopacy was established in Alexandria above a 
century before this."f We admit more, viz., that it was 
episcopal all the while, — its bishops being both chosen 
and ordained, in fact if not in form, by its presbyters, 
as shall presently be more fully shown. 

But says Dr. C, " It must not be forgotten that Dr. 

•Page 108. fPage 111. 


Miller in this attempt to prove that the second ordination 
was performed by presbyters, has been driven to admit 
a second ordination" — " a second ordination to what V 
he exclaims. His own reply is, " To a superior order, 
necessarily. Certainly [he continues] not to an inferior 
station, — surely not to the same he then occupied, ne- 
cessarily, therefore, to a superior."* Now mark : Dr. 
C.'s assertion here is, that such a second ordination by 
presbyters, as Dr. Miller had contended was the prac- 
tice in the Alexandrian church, supposing it to have ac- 
tually taken place, necessarily co?istituted a superior order. 
Be it so ; for Ave will not dispute about the word " order." 
Whether it be called order, degree, or office, it matters 
not to us : the thing is what we look at and Dr. C. has 
here furnished us, out of his own mouth, a complete an- 
swer to the main objection which has ever been urged 
by Dr. C. and his party against the episcopacy of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, which rests precisely on 
this basis. I wish to add nothing to what Dr. C. con- 
cedes in this passage for the complete vindication of our 
episcopal organization, except, in the words of Jerome, 
that it is by the custom of the church, — an ecclesiastical 
constitution, — and not pretended to be by divine right, 
nor of essential or universal obligation. 

The extract that I promised above in support of the 
views I have taken of the ordinations in the apostolical 
church of Alexandria for two hundred years or more, 
and of the true testimony of Jerome, in farther answer 
to Dr. C.'s remarks on these subjects, I now subjoin. 
It is from the pen of Dr. Campbell. 

" The testimony which I shall bring from him [Jerome, 
says this able critic] regards the practice that had long 
subsisted at Alexandria. I shall give you the passage 
in his own words, from his epistle to Evagrius. ' Alex- 
andria a Marco evangelista usque ad Heraclam et Dio- 

* Page 1 12 


nysium episcopos, presbyteri semper unum exse electum, 
in excelsiori gradu collocatum, episcopum nominabant : 
quomodo si exercitus imperatorem faciat . aut diaconi 
eligant de se quern industrium noverint, et archidiaco- 
num vocent.' I know it has been said that this relates 
only to the election of the bishop of Alexandria, and 
not to his ordination. To me it is manifest that it re- 
lates to both ; or, to express myself with greater pre- 
cision, it was the intention of that father to signify 
that no other ordination than this election, — and those 
ceremonies with which the presbyters might please 
to accompany it, such as the instalment and salutation, 
— was then and there thought necessary to one who had 
been ordained a presbyter before , that according to the 
usage of that church this form was all that was requi- 
site to constitute one of the presbyters their bishop. 
But as I am sensible that unsupported assertions are 
entitled to no regard on either side, I shall assign my 
reasons from the author's own words, and then leave 
every one to judge for himself. Jerome, in the prece- 
ding part of this letter, had been maintaining in oppo- 
sition to some deacon who had foolishly boasted of the 
order of deacons as being superior to the order of pres- 
byters, — Jerome, I say, had been maintaining that in 
the original and apostolical constitution of the church, 
bishop and presbyter were but two names for the same 
office. That ye may be satisfied that what he says im- 
plies no less, I shall give it you in his own words — 
' Audio quendam in tantam erupisse vecordiam, ut dia- 
conos presbyteris, id est episcopis, anteferret. Nam cum 
apostolus perspicue doceat eosdem esse presbyteros quos 
episcopos, quid patitur mensarum et viduarum minister, 
ut supra eos se tumidus efferat.' For this purpose he 
had in a cursory manner pointed out some of those 
arguments from the New Testament which I took occa- 
sion in a former discourse to illustrate. In regard to the 
introduction of the episcopal order as then commonly 


understood, in contradistinction to that of presbyter, he 
signifies that it did not exist from the beginning, but 
was merely an expedient devised after the times of the 
apostles, in order the more effectually to preserve unity 
in every church, as in case of differences among the 
pastors it would be of importance to have one acknow- 
ledged superior in whose determination they were bound 
to acquiesce. His words are, ' Quod autem posted,' — 
he had been speaking immediately before of the times 
of the apostles, — ' unus electus est, qui cseteris praepo- 
neretur, in schismatis remedium factum est, ne unus 
quisque ad se trahens, Christi ecclesiam rumperet.' 
Then follows the passage quoted above concerning the 
church of Alexandria. Nothing can be plainer than 
that he is giving an account of the first introduction of 
the episcopate, (as the word was then understood,) which 
he had been maintaining was not a different order from 
that of presbyter, but merely a certain pre-eminence 
conferred by election "for the expedient purpose of pre- 
venting schism. And in confirmation of what he had 
advanced that this election was all that at first was re 
quisite, he tells the story of the manner that had long 
been practised and held sufficient for constituting a 
bishop in the metropolis of Egypt. It is accordingly 
introduced thus, ' Nam et Alexandria^,' as a case en- 
tirely apposite : to wit, an instance of a church in which 
a simple election had continued to be accounted suffi- 
cient for a longer time than in other churches, — an 
instance which had remained a vestige and evidence of 
the once universal practice. Now if he meant only to 
tell us, as some would have it, that there the election of 
the bishop was in the presbyters, there was no occasion 
to recur to Alexandria for an example, or to a former 
period ; as that continued still to be a very common, if 
not the general practice throughout the church. And 
though it be allowed to have been still the custom in 
most places to get also the concurrence or consent of 


the people, this shows more strongly how frivolous the 
argument from their being electors would have been in 
favour of presbyters as equal in point of order to bishops, 
and consequently superior to deacons ; since in regard 
to most places as much as this could be said concerning 
those who are inferior to deacons, — the very meanest 
of the people, who had all a suffrage in the election of 
their bishop. But, understood in the way I have ex- 
plained it, the argument has both sense and strength in 
it, and is in effect as follows : — There can be no essen- 
tial difference between the order of bishop and that of 
presbyter, since to make a bishop nothing more was 
necessary at first (and of this practice the church of 
Alexandria remained long an example) than the nomi- 
nation of his fellow-presbyters , and no ceremony of 
consecration was required but what was performed by 
them, and consisted chiefly in placing him in a higher 
seat and saluting him bishop. 

" Add to this, that the very examples this father makes 
use of for illustration, show manifestly that his meaning 
must have been as I have represented it. His first in- 
stance is the election of an emperor by the army, which 
he calls expressly making an emperor. And is it not a 
matter of public notoriety that the emperors raised in 
this manner did, from that moment, without waiting any 
other inauguration, assume the imperial titles and exer- 
cise the imperial power 1 And did they not treat all as 
rebels who opposed them ? If possible, the other ex- 
ample is still more decisive. To constitute an arch- 
deacon, in the sense in which the word was then used, no 
other form of investiture was necessary but his election, 
which was in Jerome's time solely in his fellow-deacons ; 
though this also, with many other things, came after- 
ward into the hands of the bishop. By this example, 
he also very plainly acquaints us, that the bishop origi- 
nally stood in the same relation to the presbyters, in 

which the archdeacon, in his own time, did to the other 



deacons . and was, by consequence, no other than what 
the archpresbyter came to be afterward, the first among 
the presbyters. But does not Jerome, after all, admit 
in the very next sentence the superiority of bishops in 
the exclusive privilege of ordaining ? True : he admits 
it as a distinction that then actually obtained ; but the 
whole preceding part of his letter was written to evince 
that from the beginning it was not so. From ancient 
times he descends to times then modern, and from dis- 
tant countries he comes to his own ; concluding that 
still there was but one article of moment whereby their 
powers were discriminated. ' Quid enim facit, excepta 
ordinatione, episcopus, quod presbyter non faciat? — 
This indeed proves sufficiently that at that time presby- 
ters were not allowea to ordain. But it can prove 
nothing more ; for in regard to his sentiments about the 
rise of this difference, it was impossible to be more ex- 
plicit than he had been through the whole epistle. I 
shall only add, that for my part I cannot conceive an- 
other interpretation that can give either weight to his 
argument or consistency to his words. The interpreta 
tion I have given does both, and that without any vio- 
lence to the expression. I might plead Jerome's opinion 
in this case — I do plead only his testimony. I say I 
might plead his opinion as the opinion of one who lived 
in an age when the investigation of the origin of any 
ecclesiastical order or custom must have been incom- 
parably easier than it can be to us at this distance of 
time. I might plead his opinion as the opinion of a 
man who had more erudition than any person then in 
the church — the greatest linguist, the greatest critic, the 
greatest antiquary of them all. But I am no friend to 
an implicit deference to human authority in matters of 
opinion. Let his sentiments be no farther regarded than 
the reasons by which they are supported are found to 
be good. I do plead only his testimony, as a testimony 
in relation to a matter of fact both recent and noto- 


rious ; since it regarded the then late uniform practice 
of the church of Alexandria, — a city which, before 
Constantinople became the seat of empire, was, next to 
Rome, the most eminent in the Christian world. 

" To the same purpose the testimony of the Alex- 
andrian patriarch Eutychius has been pleaded, who, in 
his annals of that church, takes notice of the same prac- 
tice, but with greater particularity of circumstances than 
had been done by Jerome. Eutychius tells us that the 
number of presbyters therein was always twelve , and 
that on occasion of a vacancy in the episcopal chair, they 
chose one of themselves, whom the remaining eleven 
ordained bishop by imposition of hands and benediction. 
In these points it is evident there is nothing that can 
be said to contradict the testimony of Jerome. All that 
can be affirmed is, that the one mentions particulars 
about which the other had been silent. But it will be 
said, there is one circumstance, — the duration assigned 
to this custom, — wherein there seems to be a real con- 
tradiction. Jerome brings it no farther down than 
Heracla and Dionysius, whereas Eutychius represents 
it as continuing to the time of Alexander, about fifty 
years later. Now it is not impossible that a circum- 
stantiated custom might have been in part abolished at 
one time, and in part at another. But admit that in this 
point the two testimonies are contradictory, that will by 
no means invalidate their credibility as to those points 
on which they are agreed. The difference, on the con- 
trary — as it is an evidence that the last did not copy 
from the first, and that they are therefore two witnesses, 
and not one — serves rather as a confirmation of the truth 
of those articles wherein they concur. And this is our 
ordinary method of judging in all matters depending on 
human testimony That Jerome, who probably spoke 
from memory, though certain as to the main point, might 
be somewhat doubtful as to the precise time of the abo- 
lition of the custom, is rendered even probable by his . 


mentioning', with a view to mark the expiration of the 
practice, two successive bishops rather than one. For 
if he had known certainly that it ended with Heracla, 
there would have been no occasion to mention Diony- 
sius ; and if he had been assured of its continuance to 
the time of Dionysius, there would have been no pro- 
priety in mentioning Heracla."* But says Dr. C, 
" What the- ancient church thought of ordination by 
presbyters may be gathered from the following state- 
ments. In the fourth century" — dear sir, be pleased to 
stop ; if by " the ancient church" you mean the church 
in the fourth century, when Constantine, " that truly 
most excellent and admirable emperor," as, after Wolf- 
gang, you are pleased to call him, had poured in upon 
the ecclesiastics a flood of wealth and dignities, and the 
whole hierarchal corps of patriarchs, exarchs, metro- 
politans, archbishops, bishops, country bishops, arch- 
priests, priests, archdeacons, deacons, acolyths, exorcists, 
and doorkeepers became organized. Indeed the foun- 
dations of the supremacy of the prince of hierarchs, the 
pope himself, had become in that age pretty securely 
established, not indeed by the characteristics which 
should distinguish a Christian bishop, but by the dazzling 
magnificence and splendour of his see, which in that 
century had become an object of such ambition as to be 
the occasion of the most barbarous and furious civil 
war between the contending factions of the rival can- 
didates for the episcopal throne. Apostolical mother of 
churches ! — "the greatest, most ancient, and universally 
known," — with which " on account of thy greater pre- 
eminence, it is necessary that every church should 
agree !" This was thy character in the fourth century, 
and spread the baleful influence of thy conspicuous 
example throughout Christendom , and yet it is from 
acts of the church in that age as " the ancient church" 

* Lect. on Ecclesiastical History, pp. 117-121. 


that Dr. C. brings authorities to settle the question be- 
tween the rights of presbyters and bishops ! — an age in 
which there were not wanting bishops so insufferably 
inflated with the arrogant conceit of their lofty pre- 
eminence, as scarcely to deign to see mortals, or speak 
to their fellow-servants ! 

But says Dr. C, " The councils of ' the ancient church' 
in the fourth century, condemned ordinations by pres- 
byters as null, because not performed by them who 
were bishops verily and indeed."* And how were those 
councils composed? Dr. C. tells us himself, page 140, 
" The presbyters had no seat in councils as principals, 
but might sit as representatives of their bishop ;" that is, 
when the bishop himself could not be present; as in 
the case alleged of the bishop of Rome, who, "being 
unable through age to attend the Council of Nice, was 
represented by his presbyters."! So that it was by one 
of the very parties in the question exclusively, — the 
prelates themselves who composed the councils in those 
days, by the favour of the emperors who convened them, 
— that the decisions were made against the presbyters, 
who were denied a seat except in some instances, as 
representatives of absent bishops, and of course as sub- 
ject to their instructions. Were these councils of the 
apostolical pattern ? or are the rights of presbyters to 
be absolutely concluded by their ex parte sentence 1 
Yet the very council whose sentence Dr. C. alleges as 
decisive authority in this question, — the Council of Con- 
stantinople, — was exclusively thus composed of one of 
the parties in the controversy ! 

Nay, Dr. C. descends even to the councils oftlcieffth 
century, and alleges the authority of their decrees to 
the same effect :% — a century, early in which (as a speci- 
men of the manner in which things were carried even 

•Page 146. t Ibid. J Ibid. 


in general councils, in those degenerate days of episco- 
pal arrogance and domination) the lawless, haughty, 
and imperious Bishop Cyril presided in an oecumenical 
council, the transactions of which are branded by the 
learned Mosheim " as full of low artifice, contrary to all 
the rules of justice, and even destitute of the least air 
of common decency."* And that this was not a mere 
exception, a singular instance of unbridled lawlessness 
and violence in the episcopal councils of that age, ap- 
pears on the authority of the same eminent historian ; 
who states, that in another general council, held before 
the middle of that century, in which Bishop Dioscorus, 
the successor of Cyril, and the faithful imitator of his 
arrogance and fury, presided, matters were carried on 
with the same want of equity and decency that had dis- 
honoured and characterized the proceedings of the one 
just above named, under the presidency of his prede- 
cessor. And if the reader can credit it on the authority 
of the best historians, such was the infamous brutality 
of this fifth century council, that even a bishop against 
whom the lordly and dominant Dioscorus had a pique, 
was publicly scourged in the most barbarous manner, by 
the order of the council, and died soon after of the 
bruises inflicted on him in that assembly of jure di- 
vino [by divine right] successors of the apostles ! 

After such a relation it can be no matter of wonder 
that a synod in which such atrocities were perpetrated, 
came afterward to be denominated "owotw inaTpmov," a 
synod of robbers, " to signify that every thing was carried 
in it by fraud or violence !"f 

I recite such outrages with no pleasure, but with 
mortification and grief for the Christian name. But 
since Dr. C. thinks it of importance to his cause to urge 
the ex parte decisions of synods and councils in that 
age, it is proper that readers who may not be in the 

•Vol. ii, p. 06. t Ibid. p. 74. 


habit of looking into such things should be made ac- 
quainted with the characters by whom, and the manner 
in which their transactions were too often governed, as 
may be well supposed in controversies involving con- 
flicting claims of ecclesiastical prerogative. As regards 
the particular case of the presbyter Aerius, who, on the 
authority of Epiphanius, is stated by Dr. C, p. 146, to 
have been " condemned as a heretic," in the fourth cen- 
tury, because he " maintained that presbyters were 
equal to bishops, and had a right to ordain ;" together 
with " some other doctrines," as Dr. C. adds, — as to his 
"other doctrines," if they were no worse than that 
charged in the first count of the indictment against him, 
above stated, the reader can well imagine what must 
have been the temper of the assembly that condemned 
him as a heretic for that cause. He is said, however, to 
have been a semi-arian , and in so far as this part of 
the charges against him is concerned, if it be true, we 
are certainly no more disposed to defend him than Dr. 
C. But it may not be amiss for the reader to be re- 
minded that denunciations of " heresy," and the mad- 
dog brand of " heretic" in the age under review and 
those succeeding it, ought to be received with great 
caution. The Methodist reader especially, whether 
Arminian or Calvinistic, will be sensible of the appo- 
siteness of this admonition, when, if he look into the 
chronological tables appended to the valuable Ecclesi- 
astical History of Mosheim by the learned translator, he 
will find under the head of " Heretics, or enemies of 
revelation," in juxtaposition with the names of the chief 
infidels of the eighteenth century, the venerated names 
of " the Moravian brethren, and the followers of White- 
field, Wesley, and others of the same stamp !" Would 
to God the world were full of " heretics" of that " same 

One of the leading tenets of Aerius in truth was, 
" that bishops were not distinguished from presbyters 


by any divine right ; but that, according to the institu 
tion of the New Testament, their offices and authority- 
were absolutely the same."* It is perfectly certain, 
also, as Mosheim adds, that this opinion of his " was 
highly agreeable to many good Christians, who were 
no longer able to bear the tyranny and arrogance of the 
bishops of this century"! — that is, the fourth century. 

He farther condemned prayers for the dead, with some 
of the stated fasts and festivals, " and other rites of 
that nature, in which [as Mosheim remarks] the multi- 
tude erroneously imagine that the life and soul of reli- 
gion consists. His great purpose [continues the same 
historian] seems to have been that of reducing Christi- 
anity to its primitive simplicity ;" is it then any longer 
to be wondered at, that in those days he should have 
been condemned as a " heretic" by the courtly prelates 
who basked in the beams of imperial favour ? And yet, 
on the whole, his doctrinal error alone excepted, intelli- 
gent Christians at this day must think very much better 
of him than of many of those who condemned him. 

It ought not to be overlooked also that the work of 
Bp. Epiphanius against heresies, to which Dr. C. refers for 
authority against Aerius, is characterized by ecclesias- 
tical critics as a work that "has little or no reputation, 
is full of inaccuracies and errors, and discovers almost 
in every page the levity and ignorance of its author.":; 

But it is time to make the reader acquainted with the 
truth of the case in regard to Aerius. This I will do in 
the language of that distinguished Christian antiquary 
Dr. (afterward Bishop) Stillingfleet.' 

"In the matter itself, [says Stillingfleet,] I believe, 
upon the strictest inquiry, Medina's judgment will prove 

* Mosheim, vol. i, p. 376. f Ibid. 

J Mosheim, vol. i, p. 349. Dr. Jortin says of Epiphanius that he must 
have been either a dupe or a deceiver, and that this is the civilcst thing we 
can say of him. That " learned and judicious men, who have examined his 
writings, have been forced to conclude that, with all his learning and piety, [?] 
he was credulous, careless, censorious, and one who made no scruple of ro- 
mancing and misrepresenting." Remarks on Ecc. Hist., vol. i, pp. 301, 300. 


true, that Jerome, Austin, Ambrose, Sedulius, Primasius, 
Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, were all of Aerius 
his judgment as to the identity of both name and order of 
bishops and presbyters in the primitive church ; but here 
lay the difference. Aerius from hence proceeded to 
separation from bishops and their churches, because 
they were bishops. And Blondell well observes, that 
the main grou*id why Aerius was condemned was for 
unnecessary separation from the church of Sebastia , 
and those bishops, too, who agreed with him in other 
things : whereas, Jerome was so far from thinking it 
necessary to cause a schism in the church by separating 
from bishops, that his opinion is clear, that the first in- 
stitution of them was for preventing schisms , and 
therefore, for peace and unity, he thought their institu- 
tion very useful in the church of God."* 

Thus it appears that in the judgment of this very 
deeply versed and able critic in ecclesiastical antiquities, 
and " upon the strictest inquiry," Aerius, if a heretic in 
regard to the point now in hand — the identity of the 
order of bishops and presbyters in the primitive church 
— was such in very orthodox company, and even that 
of the canonized /atfAers and saints. 

There is moreover one bearing of the very cases which 
Dr. C. adduces, to which he seems not to have adverted. 
He himself shows sufficiently, that presbyters previously 
to the prohibitions of the councils alluded to did ordain, 
and did claim the Scriptural right to do so, in virtue of 
their order. Why else were the ecclesiastical canons 
made against this practice ? Why else were such ordi- 
nations declared null, because performed by presbyters ? 
The very prohibitions themselves, (as well observed by 
Dr. Campbell,) the very assertions of those whom they 
condemned as heretics, prove the practice then proba- 
bly wearing, but not quite worn out. There was no 

* Irenicum, pp. 276, 277. 


occasion for making canons against ordinations by 
deacons or by laymen, who did not pretend to such a 
right. In deference, however, to the Apostle Paul's 
authority, perhaps the bishop still admitted, and even re- 
quired the presbyters present to join with him in ordain- 
ing a presbyter by the imposition of their hands with 
his, but not in ordaining a bishop. 

As to the case of the founder of the Nftvatian sect, to 
which Dr. C. repeatedly refers, it should be understood 
that the whole relation of it, as contained in the sixty- 
third chapter of the sixth book of Eusebius, is made up 
of the statements of Cornelius, the successful rival and 
bitter enemy of Novatus, as his own coarse epithets and 
vulgar abuse plainly show The usurped domination 
and impious ignorance of Cornelius are manifest in 
those same letters of his own, from which Eusebius 
makes his extracts. He coolly says, for instance : — " In 
the roomes of the other bishops [that is, of those who 
had ordained Novatus] we ordained and sent from us 
such as should succeed them." Not forsooth, as is 
plain enough, because they were " simple countrymen," 
as he represents, nor even because they were " some- 
what tipsie" withal, " and well crammed with victuals,'* 
as he also alleges, — but because they had ordained 

Again, in the course of the torrent of invectives 
which he pours out against this late unsuccessful rival 
in the contest for the episcopal throne in that imperial 
city, he suggests a doubt, among other things, whether 
he had ever been canonically baptized, and that after- 
ward, at any rate, he had not obtained confirmation by 
the hands of the bishop ; on which he gravely asks 
this question, — " Insomuch then as he obtained not 
that, how came he by the Holy Ghost ?" 

Mosheim, on the other hand, founds his relation of 
the matter on the authority both of Cornelius in Euse- 
bius, and of Cyprian, bishop of Carthage. For Mosheim 


represents that the Roman presbyter was named Nova- 
tian, who was assisted in his enterprise by Novatus, a 
presbyter of Carthage, who had come to Rome to 
escape the resentment of Cyprian, with whom he was 
highly at variance. So that in reality all the account 
we have of the matter is from the bitter enemies if not 
the persecutors of these two presbyters ; and consider- 
ing human nature, and the evidence which, alas ! our 
own times afford, that men as good, perhaps, as some 
even of the Roman or Carthaginian saints, too often fol- 
low its unrestrained and unhallowed impulses in such 
circumstances, we ought perhaps to receive such state- 
ments with not a few or inconsiderable grains of al- 

With these preliminary observations, I am now 
prepared to say, — (1,) that having carefully examined 
the statements of Cornelius in Eusebius, I am well 
persuaded that they carry on the face of them conclu- 
sive evidence that they are the vindictive colourings 
of a personal enemy, and therefore not to be adopted 
in gross now without large deductions : and (2,) that 
Novatus doubtless desired episcopal ordination ; and 
may have even too anxiously sought it because that 
was then and there the custom of the church, and canon- 
ically required, and consequently, without it — in his 
own apprehension at least — he was not likely to suc- 
ceed so well. That bishops were then regarded in the 
Church of Rome as superior to presbyters in jurisdic- 
tion, and by the ecclesiastical custom and canons, there 
is no doubt. But that they are so jure divino, by divine 
institution, remained an unsettled question in that 
Church, even down to the Council of Trent in the six- 
teenth century, as any one may see in the long and 
animated debates upon it, as related by Paul Sarpi, the 
very able and interesting historian of that renowned 


As to Dr. C.'s strictures on Lord King, it is not neces- 
sary to follow him through the various items which he 
names in that part of his book, in which he repeats 
often, as is common with him, what he had previously 
affirmed again and again. In the very outset of his 
strictures he falls into the fundamental error which logi- 
cians denominate ignoratio elenchi, a mistake of the 
question. " Mr. Wesley [he says] professes in his 
letter to Mr. Asbury, &c, of 1784, to have founded his 
belief of the sameness of the office of presbyter and 
bishop on the arguments of Lord King in his Inquiry 
into the Constitution, &c, of the Primitive Church."* 
Now Mr. Wesley says no such thing , he made no such 
profession and this single observation, so far as Mr. 
Wesley is concerned, overthrows the whole of what 
Dr. C. builds on this erroneous foundation; the pure 
fiction of his own imagination. 

"Ibi omnis effusus labor." 

What Mr. Wesley does say in his letter "to Dr. 
Coke," &c, is as follows "Lord King's account of the 
primitive church convinced me, many years ago, that 
bishops and presbyters are the same order." Mark, the 
same order, not the same office, as Dr. C. asserts of Mr. 
Wesley's belief. The superiority of bishops in " degree," 1 
or official pre-eminence, though not in essential sacer- 
dotal order, is carefully and explicitly marked by Lord 
King in many places of his work, and could not have 
been overlooked, or intended to be confounded, by Mr. 
Wesley Dr. C, however, obviously builds his fabric 
on the erroneous assumption that both Lord King and 
Mr. W made no distinction between ministerial order, 
strictly taken in its technical ecclesiastical sense, and 
office, grade, or degree, in an order, — as, for example, 
archpresbyters among presbyters, or archdeacons among 

•Page 150. 


deacons ; or, to repeat a civil illustration, before men- 
tioned, as the speaker of the House of Commons, — 
officially superior, and occupying the first seat, and yet 
but a commoner among commoners. 

That Dr. C. confounds or overlooks this distinction, 
and that his argument consequently does not meet Lord 
King's main position, and of course Mr. W 's, is plain 
from several passages in his strictures, but especially 
from the following . — " Lord King [he says] has entirely 
passed over the objection to his doctrine arising out of 
the ordination of bishops. Ordination to an office con- 
veys the idea of introduction into one which the person 
previously did not hold. If presbyter and bishop was 
the same office, grade, or order, why were presbyters 
ordained when they were appointed to a bishoprick? 
What was the second ordination for ?"* 

Here he evidently speaks of office, grade, or order 
as all one and the same thing, and as so treated in 
Lord King's work. And yet nothing is plainer in the 
express and frequently repeated language of that author, 
than that the distinction he makes between order and 
official grade or degree is the very groundwork of his 
system. The question, therefore, which Dr. C. so con- 
fidently asks, viz., "What was the second ordination 
for?" is answered with perfect ease and consistency, on 
the principles of Lord King and Mr. W., and equally on 
those of the polity of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 
Dr. C. himself, indeed, furnishes the answer to his own 
question ; and nothing can be more appropriate or cor- 
rect : " Ordination to an office [he says] conveys the 
idea of introduction into one which the person pre- 
viously did not hold."* Exactly so. This is the pre- 
cise import of ordination as understood by Lord K., 
and also by Mr. W and the Methodist Episcopal Church. 
And therefore, while Lord K. explicitly maintains the 
primitive identity of bishops and presbyters as to the 

* Page 176. 


intrinsic and inherent power of order, he as explicitly 
states, at the same time, that when a presbyter was 
advanced to the official degree of bishop — that is, ac- 
cording to Lord K., was made the actual superintend- 
ent, inspector, or overseer of any particular church, and 
of his fellow presbyters (as well as the deacons) con- 
nected therewith, — he was ordained to that office by 
imposition of hands by the neighbouring bishops. But 
when he says " by the neighbouring bishops," the reader 
must not forget that he still does not at all mean dioce- 
san bishops of a distinct order, in Dr. C.'s or the high 
church sense ; but in his own sense of the term bishop, 
as above described.* The same answer, furnished by 
Dr. C. himself, may very clearly explain to him and to 
all others why it is that the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
which maintains the identity of bishop and presbyter as 
to the intrinsic and inherent power of order, still prac- 
tises a third ordination, when any of her presbyters are 
advanced to the episcopal degree. It is exactly because, 
in Dr. C.'s own words, " ordination to an office conveys 
the idea of introduction into one which the person pre- 
viously did not hold." 

Having thus cleared the true idea both of the order 
and the official degree of bishop, as held by Lord King, 
by Mr. W., and by the Methodist Episcopal Church, and 
the true basis on which, in accordance with this idea, 
an appropriate ordination to the episcopal office rests, I 
shall proceed to give the reader a brief synopsis of 
LordK.'s argumentation and deductions from the Chris- 
tian fathers of the first three centuries, to which he con- 
fines his inquiry on the main point in question, viz., the 
primitive identity of the order of bishops and presbyters. 
And in the course of it, I am persuaded the intelligent and 
candid reader cannot but be as forcibly struck with the 
modesty as with the learned diligence of that distin- 

* See his " Inquiry into the Constitution, Discipline, Unity, and Worship 
of the Primitive Church," p. 49. 


guished layman, whose authorities and logical deduc- 
tions were capable of producing so great a change in 
the previously prejudiced high-church mind of such a 
man as Wesley. It will serve also to show how little 
justice has been done by Dr. C. to this main point of 
Lord K.'s argument. It may be proper, first, however, 
to apprize the reader that Lord King actually and care- 
fully read and studied the early fathers whom he 
quotes, and various others, in the Greek and Latin ori- 
ginals, and not in translations, nor " by the index" as 
seems to be Dr. C.'s plan of discovering passages.* 

In his sixth chapter, Lord King says : " It will be both 
needless and tedious to endeavour to prove that the an- 
cients generally mention presbyters distinct from bishops. 
Every one, I suppose, will readily own and acknow- 
ledge it. The great question which hath most deplo- 
rably sharpened and soured the minds of too many is, 
what the office and order of a presbyter was : about this 
the world hath been and still is most uncharitably 
divided ; some equalize a presbyter in every thing with 
a bishop ; others as much debase him ; each, according to 
their particular opinions, either advance or degrade him. 
In many controversies a middle way hath been the 
safest, perhaps in this, the medium between the two ex- 
treams may be the truest. Whether what I am now 
going to say be the true state of the matter, I leave 
to the learned reader to determin ; I may be deceived, 
— neither mine years nor abilities exempt me from mis- 
takes and errors ; but this I must needs say, That after 
the most diligent researches and impartialest inquiries, 
the following notion seems to me most plausible, and 
most consentaneous to truth : and which, with a great 
facility and clearness, solves those doubts and objec- 
tions which, according to those other hypotheses, I 
know not how to answer. But yet, however, I am not 
so wedded and bigoted to this opinion, but if any shall 

* Page 161. 


produce better and more convincing arguments to the 
contrary, I will not contentiously defend, but readily 
relinquish it ; since I search after truth, not to pro- 
mote a particular party or interest. 

" Now for the better explication of this point, I shall 
first lay down a definition and description of a presbyter, 
and then prove the parts thereof. 

" Now the definition of a presbyter may be this :- 
A person in holy orders, having thereby an inherent right 
to perform the whole office of a bishop ; hit being pos- 
sessed of no place or parish, not actually discharging it, 
without the permission and consent of the bishop of a place 
or parish. 

" But lest this definition should seem obscure, I shall 
illustrate it by this following instance : As a curate 
hath the same mission and power with the minister 
whose place he supplies, yet being not the minister of 
that place, he cannot perform there any acts of his 
ministerial function without leave from the minister 
thereof; so a presbyter had the same order and power 
with a bishop, whom he assisted in his cure ; yet being 
not the bishop or minister of that cure, he could not 
there perform any parts of his pastoral office, without 
the permission of the bishop thereof, so that what we 
generally render bishops, priests, and deacons, would be 
more intelligible in our tongue if we did express it by 
rectors, vicars, and deacons, — by rectors understanding 
the bishops, and by vicars the presbyters , the former 
being the actual incumbents of a place, and the latter 
curates or assistants, and so different in degree but 
yet equal in order. 

" Now this is what I understand by a presbyter ; for 
the confirmation of which these two things are to be 
proved : 

" I. That the presbyters were the bishops' curates 
and assistants, and so inferiour to them in the actual 
exercise of their ecclesiastical commission. 



" II. That yet, notwithstanding, they had the same 
inherent right with the bishops, arid so were not of a 
distinct specific order from them. Or, more briefly, thus, 

" 1. That the presbyters were different from the 
bishops in gradu, or in degree ; but yet, 

" 2. They were equal to them in ordine, or in order. 

" As to the first of these, that presbyters were but the 
bishops' curates and assistants, inferior to them in de- 
gree, or in the actual discharge of their ecclesiastical 
commission; this will appear to have been in effect 
already proved, if we recollect what has been asserted 
touching the bishop and his office : — that there was but 
one bishop in a church ; that he usually performed all 
the parts of divine service , that he was the general dis- 
poser and manager of all things within his diocess, 
there being nothing done there without his consent and 

He then specifies the various particulars of ministe- 
rial functions which a presbyter could not perform with- 
out the bishop's leave , adding at the close : — " But 
what need I reckon up particulars, when in general 
there was no ecclesiastical office performed by the 
presbyters without the consent and permission of the 

Having cited his authorities for these statements, he 
afterward thus proceeds : — 

" So then in this sense a presbyter was inferior to a 
bishop in degree, in that, having no parish of his own, 
he could not actually discharge the particular acts of 
his ministerial function without leave from the bishop 
of a parish or diocess. The bishops were superior to the 
presbyters in that they were the presented, instituted, 
and inducted ministers of their respective parishes ; and 
the presbyters were inferior to the bishops in that they 
were but their curates and assistants. 

* Inquiry, &c, pp. 52-55. f Page 56. 



" § 3. But though the presbyters were thus different 
from the bishops in degree, yet they were of the very 
same specific order with them ; having the same inhe- 
rent right to perform those ecclesiastical offices which the 
bishop did, as will appear from these three arguments : 

"1. That by the bishop's permission they discharged 
all those offices which a bishop did - — 2, that they were 
called by the same titles and appellations as the bishops 
were . — and, 3, that they are expressly said to be of the 
same order with the bishops. As to the first of these, 
That by the bishop's permission they discharged all 
those offices which a bishop did, — this will appear from 

" 1. "When the bishop ordered them they preached 
Thus Origen, in the beginning of some of his sermons, 
tells us that he was commanded thereunto by the bishop, 
as particularly when he preached about the witch of 
Endor, he says, The bishop commanded him to do it. 

" 2. By the permission of the bishop presbyters bap- 
tized. Thus writes Tertullian, — The bishop has the 
right of baptizing, and then the presbyters, but not with- 
out his leave. 

' : 3. By the leave of the bishop presbyters adminis- 
tered the eucharist, as must be supposed in that saying 
of Ignatius, ' That that eucharist only was valid which 
was celebrated by the bishop, or by one appointed 
by him, and that the eucharist could not be delivered 
but by the bishop, or by one whom he did approve.' 

" 4. The presbyters ruled in those churches to which 
they belonged, — else this exhortation of Polycarpus to 
the presbyters of Philippi would have been in vain : 
' Let the presbyters be tender and merciful, compassion- 
ate towards all, reducing those that are in errors, visiting 
all that are weak, not negligent of the widow and the 
orphan, and him that is poor, but ever providing what 
is honest in the sight of God and man, abstaining from 

all wrath, respect of persons, and unrighteous judg- 



ment, being far from covetousness, not hastily believing 
a report against any man, not' rigid in judgment, know- 
ing that we are all faulty and obnoxious to judgment.' 

" 5. They presided in church consistories, together 
with the bishop, and composed the executive part of 
the ecclesiastical court, from whence it was called the 
•presbytery, because in it, as Tertullian says, ' Approved 
elders did preside.' 

" 6. They had also the power of excommunication, as 
Rogatianus and Numidicus, two presbyters of Cyprian's 
church, by his order joined with some bishops of his 
nomination in the excommunication of certain schisma- 
tics of his diocess. But of both these two heads more 
will be spoken in another place. 

" 7. Presbyters restored returning penitents to the 
church's peace. Thus we read, in an epistle of Diony- 
sius, bishop of Alexandria, that a certain offender 
called Serapion, approaching to the time of his dissolu- 
tion, ' sent for one of the presbyters to absolve him, which 
the presbyter did according to the order of his bishop, 
who had before commanded that the presbyters should 
absolve those who were in danger of death.' 

" 8. Presbyters confirmed, as we shall most evi- 
dently prove when we come to treat of confirmation, 
only remark here by the way, that in the days of 
Cyprian there was a hot controversy whether those that 
were baptized by heretics, and came over to the catholic 
church, should be received as members thereof by bap- 
tism and confirmation, or by confirmation alone. Now 
I would fain know, whether, during the vacancy of a 
see, or the bishop's absence, which sometimes might be 
very long, as Cyprian was absent two years, a presby- 
ter could not admit a returning heretic to the peace and 
unity of the church, especially if we consider their posi- 
tive damnation of all those that died out of the church. 
If the presbyters had not had this power of confirmation, 
many penitent souls must have been damned for the 


unavoidable default of a bishop, which is too cruel and 
unjust to imagine. 

"9. As for ordination, I find but little said of this in an- 
tiquity ; yet, as little as there is, there are clearer proofs 
of the presbyters ordaining, than there are of their ad- 
ministering the Lord's supper. ' All power and grace,' 
saith Firmilian, ' is constituted in the church, where 
seniors preside, who have the power of baptizing, con- 
firming, and ordaining ;' or, as it may be rendered, and 
perhaps more agreeable to the sense of the place, — 
' who had the power as of baptizing, so also of confirm- 
ing and ordaining.' What these seniors were will be 
best understood by a parallel place in Tertullian , for 
that place in Tertullian and this in Firmilian are usually 
cited to expound one another by most learned men, as 
the most learned Dr. Cave and others. Now the pas- 
sage in Tertullian is this, — ' In the ecclesiastical courts 
approved elders preside.' Now by these approved elders 
bishops and presbyters must necessarily be understood. 
Because Tertullian speaks here of the discipline ex- 
erted in one particular church or parish, in which there 
was but one bishop ; and if only he had presided, then 
there could not have been elders in the plural number ; 
but there being many elders to make out their number, 
we must add the presbyters to the bishop, who also 
presided with him, as we shall more fully show in an- 
other place. Now the same that presided in church 
consistories, the same also ordained. Presbyters as well 
as bishops presided in church consistories, therefore pres- 
byters as well as bishops ordained. And as in those 
churches where there were presbyters, both they and 
the bishop presided together, so also they ordained to- 
gether, both laying on their hands in ordination , as St. 
Timothy was ordained ' by the laying on of the hands of 
the presbytery :' that is, by the hands of the bishop and 
presbyters of that parish where he was ordained, — as is 
the constant signification of the word presbytery in all 
the writings of the ancients. But, 


" 10. Though as to every particular act of the bi- 
shop's office, it could not be proved particularly that 
a presbyter did discharge them , yet it would be suf- 
ficient if we could prove that in the general a pres- 
byter could and did perform them all. — Now that a 
presbyter could do so, and consequently, by the bishop's 
permission, did do so, will appear from the example 
of the great St. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, who, 
being exiled from his church, writes a letter to the 
clergy thereof, wherein he exhorts and begs them ' to 
discharge their own and his office too, that so nothing 
might be wanting either to discipline or diligence.' 
And much to the same effect he thus writes them in 
another letter, Trusting, therefore, to your kindness and 
religion, which I have abundantly experienced, I exhort 
and command you by these letters, that in my stead you 
perform those offices which the ecclesiastical dispensation 
requires. And in a letter written upon the same occa- 
sion by the clergy of the church of Rome to the clergy 
of the church of Carthage, we find these words toward 
the beginning thereof : And since it is incumbent upon 
us, who are as it were bishops, to keep the flock in the room 
of the pastor : if we shall be found negligent, it shall be 
said unto us as it was said to our careless preceding bishops, 
in Ezekiel xxxiv, 3, 4, that we looked not after that which 
was lost, we did not correct him that wandered, nor bound 
up him that was lame, but we did eat their milk and were 
covered with their wool. So that the presbyters were, 
as it were, bishops, that in the bishop's absence kept his 
flock, and in his stead performed all those ecclesiastical 
offices which were incumbent on him. 

" Now then, if the presbyters could supply the place 
of an absent bishop, and in general discharge all those 
offices to which a bishop had been obliged if he had 
been present, it naturally follows that the presbyters 
could discharge every particular act and part thereof. 
If I should say, such an one has all the senses of a 


man, and jet also assert that he cannot see, I should 
be judged a self-contradictor in that assertion, for in 
affirming that he had all the human senses, I also af- 
firmed that he saw, because seeing is one of those 
senses, — for whatsoever is affirmed of an universal, is 
affirmed of every one of its particulars. So when the 
fathers say that the presbyters performed the whole 
office of the bishop, it naturally ensues that they con- 
firmed, ordained, baptized, &c, because those are par- 
ticulars of that universal. 

" But now, from the whole, we may collect a solid 
argument for the equality of presbyters with bishops, 
as to order , for if a presbyter did all a bishop did, what 
difference was there between them 1 A bishop preached, 
baptized, and confirmed , so did a presbyter. A bishop 
excommunicated, absolved, and ordained ; so did a pres- 
byter. Whatever a bishop the same did a presbyter. 
The particular acts of their office were the same , the 
only difference that was between them was in degree, 
— but this proves there was none at all in order. 

" That bishops and presbyters were of the same 
order appears also from that originally they had one 
and the same name, each of them being indifferently 
called bishops or presbyters. Hence we read in the 
Sacred Writ of several bishops in one particular church, 
as the bishops of Ephesiis and Phi lip] n, that is, the 
bishops and presbyters of those churches, as they were 
afterward distinctly called. And Clemens Romanus 
sometimes mentions many bishops in the church of Co- 
rinth whom at other times he calls by the name of pres- 
byters, using those two terms as synonymous titles and 
appellations. ' You have obeyed? saith he, ' those that 
were set over you, roi S yyov/ievoic v^, and let its revere those 
that are set over us, 1 irpoqyovfievovc fyuv, which are the usual 
titles of the bishops ; and yet these in another place 
he calls presbyters, describing their office by their sitting 
or presiding over us. Wherefore he commands the Co- 
rinthians to be subject to their presbyters, and whom in 


one line he calls emononoi, or bishops ; the second line 
after he calls TxpeaBvnpoi, or presbyters. So Poly carp 
exhorts the Philippians to be subject to their presbyters 
and deacons, — under the name of presbyters including 
both bishops and priests, as we now call them. 

" The first that expressed these church officers by 
the distinct terms of bishops and presbyters was Igna- 
tius, who lived in the beginning of the second century, 
appropriating the title of bishop, emoiconos, or overseer, to 
that minister who was the more immediate overseer and 
governor of his parish ; and that of npeajSvTepoc, elder or 
presbyter, to him who had no particular care and in- 
spection of a parish, but was only an assistant or curate 
to a bishop that had ■ the word emoKoirog, or bishop, de- 
noting a relation to a flock or cure ; npecBvTspoc, or pres- 
byter, signifying only a power or ability to take the 
charge of such a flock or cure, — the former implying 
an actual discharge of the office, the latter a power so 
to do. 

" This distinction of titles, arising from the difference 
of their circumstances, which we find first mentioned 
in Ignatius, was generally followed by the succeeding 
fathers, who for the most part distinguish between 
bishops and presbyters, though sometimes, according to 
the primitive usage, they indifferently apply those terms 
to each of those persons. Thus, on the one hand, the 
titles of presbyters- are given unto bishops, as Irenseus 
in his synodical epistle twice calls Anicetus, Pius, Higy- 
nus, Telesphorus, and Sixtus, bishops of Rome, n P ee3vrepoi, 
or presbyters. And those bishops who derived their 
succession immediately from the apostles he calls the 
presbyters in the church : and whom Clemens Alexan- 
drinus in one line calls the bishop of a certain city not 
far from Ephesus, a few lines after he calls the pres- 
byter. And on the other hand, the titles of bishops are 
ascribed to presbyters, as one of the discretive appella- 
tions of a bishop is pastor. Yet Cyprian also calls his 


presbyters the pastors of the flock. Another was that 
of president, or one set over the people. Yet Cyprian 
also calls his presbyters presidents, or set over the peo- 
ple. The bishops were also called rectors or rulers : 
so Origen calls the presbyters the governors of the 
people. And we find both bishops and presbyters in- 
cluded under the common name of presidents or prelates 
by St. Cyprian, in this his exhortation to Pomponius. 
' And if all must observe the divine discipline, how much 
more must the presidents and deacons do it, who by 
their conversation and manners must yield a good ex- 
ample to others'?' Now if the same appellation of a 
thing be a good proof for the identity of its nature, then 
bishops and presbyters must be of the same order, be 
cause they had the same names and titles. Suppose it 
was disputed whether a parson and lecturer w T ere of the 
same order, would not this sufficiently prove the affirm- 
ative ? That though for some accidental respects they 
might be distinguished in their appellations, yet origin- 
ally and frequently they were called by one and the 
same name. The same it is in this case, though for 
some contingent and adventitious reasons, bishops and 
presbyters were discriminated in their titles, yet origin- 
ally they were always, and afterward sometimes, called 
by one and the same appellation, and therefore we may 
justly deem them to be one and the same order. But 
if this reason be not thought cogent enough, the third 
and last will unquestionably put all out of doubt, and 
most clearly evince the identity or sameness of bishops 
and presbyters as to order. And that is, that it is ex- 
pressly said by the ancients that there were but two 
distinct ecclesiastical orders, viz., bishops and deacons, 
or presbyters and deacons ; and if there were but these 
two, presbyters cannot be distinct from bishops, for then 
there would be three. 

" Now that there were but two orders, viz., bishops 
and deacons, is plain from that golden ancient remain of 


Clemens Romanus, wherein he thus writes : — ' In the 
country and cities where the apostles preached, they 
ordained their first converts for bishops and deacons 
over those who should believe. Nor were these orders 
new, for, for many ages past it was thus prophesied 
concerning' bishops and deacons : I will appoint their 
bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith.' 
This place of Scripture which is here quoted is in Isa. 
Ix, 17 'I will make thine officers peace and thine ex- 
actors righteousness.' Whether it is rightly applied, 
is not my business to determine. That that I observe 
from hence is, that there were but two orders instituted by 
the apostles, viz., bishops and deacons, which Clemens 
supposes were prophetically promised long before."* 

He then quotes a farther passage from the same epis- 
tle of Clemens to the Corinthians, the object of which 
was to dissuade an unruly faction in that church from a 
design which they entertained of deposing their pres- 
byters. The great argument of Clemens to this end 
was, that they ought rather to obey their presbyters, 
and to desist from their disorderly proceedings against 
them, because the institution and succession of bishops 
and deacons was from the apostles themselves, which, 
continues Lord K., " clearly evinces that presbyters 
were included under the title of bishops, or rather, that 
they were bishops. For to what end should Clemens 
exhort the schismatical Corinthians to obey their pres- 
byters, from the consideration of the apostles' ordina- 
tion of bishops, if their presbyters had not been bishops? 
But that the order of presbyters was the same with the 
order of bishops, will appear also from that place of Ire- 
naeus, where he exhorts us ' to withdraw from those pres- 
byters who serve their lusts, and, having not the fear of 
God in their hearts, contemn others, and are lifted up with 
the dignity of their first session ; but to adhere to those 

* Inquiry, &c, p. 57-69. 


who keep the doctrine of the apostles, and with their 
presbyterial order are inoffensive and exemplary in 
sound doctrine and a holy conversation, to the inform- 
ation and correction of others , for such presbyters the 
church educates, and of whom the prophet saith, I will 
give thee princes in peace, and bishops in righteousness.' 

" Now that by these presbyters bishops are meant, 
I need not take much pains to prove ; the precedent 
chapter positively asserts it, the description of them in 
this quotation, by their enjoying the dignity of the first 
session, and the application of that text of Isaiah unto 
them, clearly evinces it. No one can deny but that 
they were bishops, that is, that they were superior in 
degree to other presbyters, or, as Irenseus styles it, 
honoured with the first session, but yet he also says 
that they were not different in order, being of the pres- 
byterial order, which includes both bishops and pres- 

After quoting next a passage from Clemens Alexan- 
drinus, in proof or illustration of the same point, he thus 
proceeds : — 

" So that there were only the two orders of deacons 
and presbyters, the former whereof being the inferior 
order, never sat at their ecclesiastical conventions, but, 
like servants, stood and waited on the latter, who sat 
down on o/jwm, or seats in the form of a semicircle, whence 
they are frequently called consessus presbyterii, or the 
session of the presbytery, in which session he that was 
more peculiarly the bishop or minister of the parish sat 
at the head of the semicircle on a seat somewhat ele- 
vated above those of ' his colleagues,' as Cyprian calls 
them ; and so was distinguished from them by his pri- 
ority in the same order, but not by his being of another 
order. Thus the foresaid Clemens Alexandrinus dis- 
tinguishes the bishop from the presbyters by his being 

♦Inquiry, pp. 71,72. 


advanced to the TrpuroicadeSpia, or the first seat in the presby- 
tery, not by his sitting in a different seat from them. — 
For he thus writes, 'He is in truth a presbyter of the 
church and a minister of the will of God, who does and 
teaches the things of the Lord, not ordained by men or 
esteemed just because a presbyter, but because just, 
therefore received into the presbytery, — who, although 
he be not honoured with the first seat on earth, yet shall 
hereafter sit down on the twenty and four thrones men- 
tioned in the Revelations, judging the people.' So that 
both bishops and presbyters were members of the same 
presbytery, only the bishop was advanced to the first 
and chiefest seat therein, — which is the very same w r ith 
what I come now from proving, viz., that bishops and 
presbyters were equal in order but different in degree 
that the former were ministers of their respective pa- 
rishes, and the latter their curates or assistants. 

" Whether this hath been fully proved, or whether the 
precedent quotations do naturally conclude the premises, 
the learned reader will easily determine. I am not con- 
scious that I have stretched any words beyond their natu- 
ral signification ; having deduced from them nothing but 
what they fairly imported. If I am mistaken I hope I 
shall be pardoned, since I did it not designedly or volun- 
tarily As before, so now I profess again, that if any one 
shall be so kind and obliging to give me better informa- 
tion, I shall thankfully and willingly acknowledge and 
quit mine error ; but till that information be given, and the 
falsity of my present opinion be evinced, (which after 
the impartialest and narrowest inquiry I see not how 
it can be done,) I hope no one will be offended that I 
have asserted the equality or identity of the bishops 
and presbyters as to order, and their difference as to 
pre-eminency or degree. 

" § 4. Now from this notion of presbyters there evi- 
dently results the reason why there were many of them 
in one church, even for the same intent and end, though 


more necessary and needful, that curates are now to 
those ministers and incumbents whom they serve, it was 
found by experience that variety of accidents and cir- 
cumstances did frequently occur both in times of peace 
and persecution, the particulars whereof would be 
needless to enumerate, that disabled the bishops from 
attending- on, and discharging- their pastoral office , 
therefore that such vacancies might be supplied, and 
such inconveniences remedied, they entertained pres- 
byters or curates, who during their absence might sup- 
ply their places, who also were helpful to them whilst 
they were present with their flocks, to counsel and ad- 
vise them. Whence Bishop Cyprian assures us that he 
did all things by the common counsel of his presbyters. 

"Besides this, in those early days of Christianity, 
churches were in most places thin, and at great dis- 
tances from one another ; so that if a bishop by any 
disaster was incapacitated for the discharge of his func- 
tion, it would be very difficult to get a neighbouring- 
bishop to assist him. To which we may also add, that 
in those times there were no public schools or univer- 
sities, except we say the catechetic lecture at Alexan- 
dria was one for the breeding of young ministers, who 
might succeed the bishops as they died ; wherefore the 
bishops of every church took care to instruct and ele- 
vate some young men, who might be prepared to come 
in their place when they were dead and gone. And 
thus, for these and the like reasons, most churches were 
furnished with a competent number of presbyters, who 
helped the bishops while living, and were fitted to suc- 
ceed them when dead."* 

Into the next sentiment advanced by Lord King, he 
seems to have been led by an erroneous reading of a 
passage in the edition of Tertullian's works which he 
used, and which I find corrected in one of Dr. Camp- 

* Inquiry, pp. 74-77. 


bell's lectures on Ecclesiastical History, p. 121. The 
passage as quoted by Lord K. is, — " Ubi ecclesiastici 
ordinis non est consessus, et offert, et tingit sacerdos, 
qui est ibi solus." Exhort, ad Castitat. p. 457. And from 
it he deduces the sentiment that although most churches 
were furnished with presbyters, yet that this was not 
essential ; a bishop being sufficient, &c. Dr. Campbell 
says a bishop and " some deacons." The latter is not 
added by Lord King, but Dr. Campbell shall speak for 

" Some have inferred from a passage of Tertullian 
that, however general the practice was in the second 
and subsequent centuries, of settling in every church 
all the three orders above explained, it was not uni- 
versal; that in parishes where there were but a few 
Christians remotely situated from other churches, it 
was judged sufficient to give them a pastor or bishop 
only and some deacons. The presbyter then being 
but a sort of assistant to the bishop, might not, in very 
small charges, be judged necessary. The thing is not 
in itself improbable, and the authority above-mentioned, 
before I had examined it or seen a more accurate edi- 
tion, led me to conclude it real. But on examination I 
find that what had drawn me and others into this opinion 
was no more than a false reading of a sentence quoted 
in a former lecture. In some editions of Tertullian we 
read, (De Exhort. Cast.,) ' Ubi ecclesiastici ornis non est 
consessus, et offert, et tinguit, sacerdos qui est ibi 
solus.' I need not urge that the expression is quite 
different in all the best manuscripts and most correct 
editions : this being one of those glaring corruptions 
which, after a careful perusal, betray themselves to an 
attentive reader of any penetration. The words, as I 
have now transcribed them, considered in connection 
with the subject treated in the context, have neither 
sense nor coherence in them, whereas, nothing can be 
more apposite to the author's argument than they are in 


the way formerly quoted. ' Ubi ecclesiastici ordinis non 
est consessus, et offers, et tinguis, et sacerdos es tibi 
solus.' So sensible of this were the two learned critics 
Petavius and Dodwell, that though both were violently 
disposed, in their different ways, to pervert the meaning, 
neither thought proper to avail himself of a variation in 
the reading which would have removed at once what to 
them was a great stumbling-block. It is indeed a read- 
ing which savours more of art than of negligence, and 
has much the appearance of those inquisitorial correc- 
tions which were made on several ancient books in the 
sixteenth century, especially those published in the 
papal dominions, or where the holy office was esta- 
blished, in order to adapt the ancient doctrine to the 
orthodoxy of the day. Now nothing could be more 
opposite to this, than what seemed to admit that any 
necessity or exigence whatever could entitle a layman 
to exercise the function of a priest."* 

A few miscellaneous specimens of Dr. C's criticisms 
on Lord K. shall conclude my notice of this part of his 

" As for the word diocess, [says Lord K.,] by which 
the bishop's flock is now usually expressed, I do not 
remember that ever I found it used in this sense by any 
of the ancients."f On this passage Dr. C. remarks as 
follows ■ — " Socrates, however, who lived in the fourth 
century, in his account of the Council of Constantinople, 
says they decreed that the bishop of a diocess, dicecesis, 
should not pass (be translated) to another church. — 
The word occurs twice more within the compass of a 
page. It is evident from its being used in the wording 
of a law or canon that it was common and well under- 

The Council of Constantinople was held about fifteen 
years before the close of the fourth century , and So- 

*Lect. on Ecclesiastical History.pp. 121, 122. tlniu»7> P- 15. ifPage 153. 


crates consequently must have written still later. Dr. C. 
knew that Lord K.'s inquiry was expressly confined to 
the writers of t\\ejirst three centuries. Yet he says that 
a word which Lord K. did not remember to have seen, 
in the sense mentioned, in any writer of the first three 
centuries, may be found in three instances in a writer 
nearly a hundred years later , and he infers from its 
being once used in a law about that time, that it was 
then common and well understood. Does this, were it 
even so, disprove any thing that Lord K. had said 1 

One of Lord King's sentiments was, that the ancient 
bishoprics were the same as modern parishes, under the 
proper pastoral care of the bishop, though they might 
have been larger in extent of territory, or have covered 
a greater space of ground. In descanting on this topic, 
Dr. C, to show his view of the subject, selects the 
church of Jerusalem, among others, as a specimen of 
the extent of the ancient churches. And as we have 
authentic accounts of that church in the only certain 
church history extant, — the Acts of the Apostles, — I 
will [subject] Dr. C.'s strictures for a moment to the 
test of that record.* 

Among all the writers I have yet looked into, I must 
say that I have seldom or never met with one who so 
frequently and so coolly avails himself of the petitio 
principii (begging the question) as Dr. C. Lord King, 
in proof of his position that presbyters ordained, ad- 
duces a passage from Firmilian above quoted. On 
which Dr. C, after a train of other remarks, makes the 
following : — " But when, in addition to these consider- 
ations we have Firmilian's own declaration that in his 
epistle he is speaking of bishops, contest is at an end."f 
How at an end ? Is it not the very position of Lord K., 
sustained by other eminent critics, that the writers of 

* [The author appears to have intended to insert here a criticism of this 
kind, which he had previously written. It will be found in the Appendix, 
as it could not well be introduced here. — Ed.] t Page 173. 


that period frequently use the terms bishop and pres- 
byter interchangeably, — calling the same persons indif- 
ferently by one or the other name ? But Dr. C.'s mind 
seems so engrossed with the notion that bishop can be 
no other than a high church diocesan, that wherever 
the word occurs, this idea seems with him a matter of 
course. The following may be given as an instance : — 
the phrase " majores natii" in Firmilian is rendered by 
Lord K. " seniors," or, according to the parallel phrase, 
" probati seniores ;" in Tertullian, " approved elders :" and 
that these approved elders, for reasons which Lord K. 
assigns, included both bishops and presbyters, he says 
" must necessarily be understood."* On this statement 
of Lord K.'s, Dr. C. thus argues . — 

" It is furthermore to be observed that all Lord King 
urges on this passage is, that majores natu included both 
the bishop and his presbyters ; and that both they and 
the bishop ordained together, both laying on their hands 
in ordination, as Timothy was ordained by the laying 
on of the hands of the presbytery : that is, by the hands 
of the bishop and presbyters of that parish where he 
was ordained, as is the constant signification of the 
word presbytery in all the writings of the ancients." 
(Page 62, part i.) By his own account, therefore, a 
bishop was present at the ordination of Timothy, spoken 
of in Paul's first epistle to him, and " Paul must have 
been that bishop."t The reader will observe that his 
affirmation is, that as a bishop was present, according 
to Lord K.'s " own account," it follows of course and 
necessarily that " Paul must have been that bishop." 
And yet nothing is plainer than that, according to Lord 
K., the bishop was the pastor of that particular church 
where Timothy was ordained, who, together with the 
presbyters connected with him in the same church, con- 
stituted its " presbytery." 

* Inquiry, p. 61 t Page 173. 


On leaving Lord King Dr. C. descends at once to the 
age of the Reformation. And in this field it is wonder- 
ful with what facility he puts to flight whole hosts of 
" men of first-rate talents and learning," as he is com- 
pelled to admit they were ■* and by a few simple 
dashes of his own more learned, more fearless, or more 
honest pen, demolishes at once the fair fame of the im- 
mortal band who jeoparded their lives and every earthJy 
interest to rescue Christendom " from the tyranny of the 
bishop of Rome and all his detestable enormities," as the 
English reformed litany originally expressed it. 

To the admission of the validity of ordination by 
presbyters, on the part of many of the most distinguished 
episcopal writers and dignitaries, both " during the pro- 
gress of the reformation and since," Dr. C. replies, that 
at most it was but their opinion formed upon various 
considerations : — in some, from affection for individuals 
of the continental reformers ; in others, perhaps in all 
of the early English reformers, from fear of the conse- 
quences of breaking with the non-episcopal churches ; 
that some " were not Episcopalians in principle, [not of 
Dr. C.'s " stamp" certainly,] but were secretly plotting 
to subvert the order of the church :" that " even some 
bishops were suspected of being opposed to it ;" and 
finally, that " all were more or less influenced by the 
fear of breaking with the continental reformers."! — So 
that in all of them, according to Dr. C, this pusillani- 
mous motive operated either to impair their intellect, or 
else to destroy their integrity in a matter which, on his 
scheme, is essential to the very being of the Christian 
church ! Even the amiable and truly apostolical and 
Christian spirit which breathed in the breast of the 
magnanimous Usher, — who avowed that although he 
deemed those churches which had no bishops defective 
in government, yet that he loved and honoured them as 
true members of the universal church, and that, were 

* Page 179. t Page 178. 



he in Holland, he would receive the blessed sacrament 
at the hands of the Dutch with the like affection that he 
would from the hands of the French minister, were he 
at Clarenton,"* — even this illustrious primate's motives 
must fall under Dr. C.'s imputation of weakness or of 
dishonesty Nay, the no less amiable and equally apos- 
tolical and Christian spirit of the continental reformers, 
who received the English episcopal fugitives from the 
terrors of bloody Mary "with the utmost cordiality," 
and treated them " with the greatest friendship and 
hospitality," in passing through Dr. C.'s alembic, is 
strangely transmuted into an auxiliary of his cause. 
One would suppose, if the characteristics of discipleship 
established by the Master are to be regarded, that it 
ought to be considered rather as a proof of the Chris- 
tian genuineness of churches whose leaders and mem- 
bers breathed such a spirit. — " By this shall all men 
know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to 
another:"! a testimony worth ten thousand "passages," 
genuine or spurious, from St. Ignatius, or any other 
uninspired saint. This spirit, which reciprocally ani- 
mated the English and continental churches, in their 
official and ministerial intercourse with each other, in 
those golden days of mutual and joint resistance to 
high church and popery, Dr. C.'s doctrine would and 
does, at this day, banish from the earth. It is the 
doctrine of thorough sectarian bigotry and Scriptural 
schism. For what is schism, in the true Scriptural 
sense, but the alienation of Christians from each other 
in heart. And if this be its genuine import, as, on the 
authority of inspiration, we affirm it is, then whose doc- 
trine, tested by this infallible criterion, is most schisma- 
tical, that of Usher, or that of Dr. C. ? In other words, 
whose is most hostile or friendly to that fundamental 
principle of Christianity among Christians and churches, 
— mutual love? whose tends most to conciliate their 

* Letter to Dr. Bernard. t John xiii. 36. 



affections where differences have unhappily arisen, or, 
by means of uncharitable and dogmatical decisions to 
widen the breach, and hinder their reciprocal recogni 
tion and ecclesiastical intercourse 1 "Where the former 
spirit prevails, it is Christian ; where the latter, it is 

I know that Dr. C. is pleased to say, that it is " far 
from being the desire of those who believe that episco- 
pal [high church] ordination alone is valid, to prevent 
any qualified person from entering into the ministry." — 
And that " they only wish" them to " obtain that" " au- 
thority" " which is" valid.* That is to say, in effect, 
" Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, 
and we forbad him, because he followeth not us." The 
answer of Jesus is our answer. If the reader please 
he may look at it, Mark ix, 38, and Luke be, 49. Can 
any be so blind as not to discern the very spirit of the 
sectary lurking under the cloak of Dr. C.'s apparent 
liberality 1 f 

I find little in the remaining part of Dr. C.'s work that 
is worthy of observation. What he says in reference 
to Mr. W. and on the Scripture argument, will be no- 
ticed hereafter.:}: It would seem, indeed, according to 
Dr. C, that not only the Scriptures, and all the ancient 
Christian writers, but even the master spirits among the 
continental reformers, (from fear of whom, mark it, 
according to the same Dr. C., or from affection for whom, 
the English episcopal reformers had proved recreant to 
their own principles and to their church, many of them 
having been corrupted in this respect by the great hos- 
pitality and friendship of those said continental reform- 

* Pages 147, 148. 

t [Here is a note in the MS. indicating that the author intended to insert 
an extract from something which he had previously written. To avoid con- 
fusion, it is given in the Appendix. — Ed.] 

\ [Never accomplished, except so far as the Scripture argument is taken 
up in his reply to Dr. Onderdonk, at the close of this book. — Ed.] 


ers during an actual residence among them !) are in 
favour of the high church scheme. Now this is really 
passing strange. That they should have been in 
sentiment and in heart at least decided Episcopalians 
themselves, and yet, not only by their public acts and 
writings, but in their intimate, social, and confidential 
personal intercourse, have so greatly and so injuriously 
influenced episcopalians against episcopacy ! The in- 
consistency of these opposite grounds, both taken by 
Dr. C, is so manifest and glaring, that I am driven to 
the conclusion that he mistakes his men and mistakes 
their meaning. The continental reformers, in a noble 
and commendable reciprocation of the truly Christian 
and enlightened spirit of the English episcopal reform- 
ers, undoubtedly admitted the lawfulness of episcopacy, 
and in certain circumstances its expediency and high 
utility That there was nothing in it, when properly 
understood, inconsistent with gospel principles or apos- 
tolical precept or example — that it had in fact, pre- 
vailed in the church generally from a very early period, 
if not from the days of the apostles ; and that, from these 
considerations there was nothing in it, thus understood, 
to offend a good conscience or to require separation from 
episcopal communion. That those of them who went 
the farthest meant nothing more, is evident from Dr. 
C.'s own selected passages from Grotius himself, of 
whom he makes the largest and strongest use. I need 
not here repeat what has been so often mentioned by 
others, that Grotius is believed to have become some- 
what soured by the ill treatment he received from the 
Presbyterian churches of Holland. His own language, 
as quoted by Dr. C. himself, is sufficient for my present 
purpose. The very title of one of the sections of Gro- 
tius, from which Dr. C. takes a number of his quota- 
tions, is, " The episcopal superiority is not of Divine 
command." This proposition he then proceeds to esta- 
blish by a variety of arguments, and explicitly asserts 


that what he thus alleges for " the equality of pastors" 
is " not at all repugnant to the former ;" — that is, to 
what he had before said on the subject of episcopacy 
He shows plainly also, that he understood Jerome in 
the sense which has been herein represented, and that 
he himself adopted the same views. "Jerome says, 
[remarks Grotius,] The bishops became greater than the 
presbyters, more by custom than by the truth of the Di- 
vine ordering.'" He quotes St. Augustine, bishop of 
Hippo in the same century, to the same effect, as fol- 
lows : " The episcopate is greater than the presbyter ate 
in the name of honour which the practice of the church 
hath retained." Epist. xix. He admits indeed that when 
the fathers speak of " custom," they do not exclude that 
of the apostolical age itself : but contends at the same 
time that not every apostolical institution or practice 
is therefore necessarily of Divine command , of which 
he alleges several instances, and then continues thus . — 
" Add also, that the apostles so instituted bishops, that 
they left certain churches without bishops : Epiphanius 
acknowledges this. — There was need of presbyters and 
deacons, for by these two the ecclesiastical offices could be 
fulfilled ; but when there was not found any one worthy 
of the episcopate, the place remained without a bishop; but 
when there was need, and there were persons worthy of the 
episcopate, bishops were appointed. Those churches, 
therefore, as Jerome says, were governed by the common 
council of presbyters." 

In his notes on some of the above extracts, Dr. C. 
makes the assertion that we are not only bound to be- 
lieve what the apostles taught, but that " what they did 
we are bound to practise."* 

He observes also, that the apostles did not " command 
that the church should be governed by the common 

* Page 191. [A. note in the MS. here, indicates that the author intended 
to add some instances to illustrate the absurdity of such a principle. Such, 
however, will readily present themselves to the reader. — Ed.] 


council of presbyters." This is granted, and accord 
ingly and consistently, we maintain, that the presbyte- 
rian model of church polity is no more of essential, uni- 
versal, and perpetual obligation, by Divine right, than 
high-church episcopacy. 

If any thing be yet wanting to set Grotius's opinion 
in a clear light, the following with ordinary persons, 
though probably not with Dr. C, seem to be sufficient. 
" All the ancients [says Grotius] confess that there was 
no act so peculiarly the bishop's [confirmation, of course, 
included, Dr. C. to the contrary notwithstanding] that it 
might not also be exercised by the presbyter, except the 
right of ordaining." He quotes Chrysostom and Jerome 
to show this, and then adds : — " But although the right 
of ordaining is taken away from presbyters, [mark, ' is 
taken away? not that they never possessed it,] accord- 
ing to the opinion of these fathers, which constitution 
(or law) may be seen in many councils universal and 
local, [which shows by what means, in his view, the 
right had been taken away from presbyters,] what 
nevertheless hinders that we may interpret it so that 
presbyters could ordain no one without the bishop's 
consent ?" 

A little after he says, " Yet I do not see how that can 
be refuted, where there are not bishops, that ordination 
might be rightly performed even by a presbyter." And 
again : — " Then, as we have said above, it is doubtful 
whether presbyters, who neither have presbyters under 
them nor a bishop over them, belong to (the order of) 
bishops, or to (that of) mere presbyters. For Ambrose 
thus argues of Timothy, — he, who had no other before 
him, was a bishop. Indeed, (that we may take an ex- 
ample from the republic,) many things are lawful to a 
senate not having a king, which are not lawful to a 
senate constituted under a king. Because a senate 
without a king is as it were a king." 

The passage of " Ambrose," above alluded to by Gro- 


tiiis, is probably that of Hilary, whose works are always 
bound up with those of Ambrose, and by some blunder 
in the editors, says Dr. Campbell, continue to pass 
under his name. Dr. C. seems also to have taken 
Hilary as Ambrose. The entire passage is one which 
I cannot but think entirely refutes the efforts made by 
Dr. C. in a former part of his work to enlist Hilary in 
his service. It also explains fully the observation 
which Dr. C. so often repeats, on the credit of Hilary, 
that though every bishop is a presbyter, yet every pres- 
byter is not a bishop. The connection and explana- 
tion of this very just saying, as given by Hilary himself, 
Dr. C. is careful to omit. But the reader shall have it 
in Hilary's own words, from his Commentary on the 
third chapter of first Timothy ; of which the papal 
critic Richard Simon says, there are few ancient com- 
ments on the epistle of St. Paul, and even on the whole 
New Testament, which can be compared with this. 
The words are : — 

" Post episcopum tamen diaconi ordinationem sub- 
jecit. Quare 1 nisi quia episcopi et presbyteri una or- 
dinatio est? Uterque enim sacerdos est. Sed episco- 
pus primus est ; ut omnis episcopus presbyter sit, non 
omnis presbyter episcopus. Hie enim episcopus est, qui 
inter presbyteros primus est. Denique Timotheum pres- 
byterum ordinatum significat, sed quia ante se alterum 
non habebat, episcopus erat."* 

After such explicit declarations as those above quoted, 
from Grotius, it surely must be an attempt which pre- 
sumes not a little on the reader's credulity or ignorance, 
to undertake to class that eminent man among the sup- 
porters of Dr C.'s notions of episcopacy, and not less so 

* See Campbell's Lect. on Eccl. Hist., p. 116. 

[" After the bishop he places the order of deacon. Why ? unless it be 
because the ordination of bishop and presbyter is one ? For each is a priest. 
But the bishop is first; so that every bishop is a presbyter, not every 
presbyter a bishop. For he is a bishop who is first among the presbyters. 
Finally, he declares that Timothy was ordained a presbyter, but because he 
had no other before him, he was a bishop." — Ed.] 


certainly to rank in the same class even Calvin and 
Beza ! The latter of these eminent men, indeed, ac- 
cording to Grotius, (who was expressly speaking at the 
same time of "the churches which have no bishops,") 
thought it ought by no means to be omitted that " it 
was essential that, by the perpetual ordination of God, 
it was, it is, and it will be necessary that some one in the 
'presbytery, chief both in place and dignity, should preside 
to govern the proceedings with that right which is given 
to him by God ■" meaning obviously, that in every pres- 
bytery there should be a presiding presbyter, chief both 
in place and dignity, to govern the proceedings as presi- 
dent, with a right to exact the submission required by 
order and the ecclesiastical constitution, in accordance 
with the general principle ordained of God, — let every 
soul be subject to the higher powers, — agreeably to the 
specific constitution of government under which they 
live, whether of church or state. 

In fine, Grotius's view of episcopacy in fact, apart 
from names &n& forms, which do not at all alter things, 
is set forth with the lucidness of a sunbeam, in the fol- 
lowing emphatic passage : — " And (if with Zanchius 
[says that very eminent man] I will acknowledge the 
truth) in reality no men were bishops more than those 
very men whose authority availed to oppose even the 

The above extracts are from Grotius's work on 
Church Government, in the words of the translations 
adopted by Dr. C. himself. 

In regard to Calvin Dr. C. makes an extract of some 
length from his Institutes, [book iv, chap, iv, 2,] which 
I beg leave to submit entire, for a reason which will 
immediately appear. It is as follows — 

" They named all those on whom was enjoined the 
office of teaching presbyters. These chose one of their 
number in every city, to whom in particular they gave 
the title of bishop ; lest from equality, as usually hap- 


pens, dissensions should arise. Yet the bishop was 
not so superior in honour and dignity, that he had do- 
minion over his colleagues : but those duties which a 
consul performs in the senate, that he may report con- 
cerning matters, collect their opinions, go before others 
in consulting, admonishing, exhorting, regulate the 
whole proceedings by his own authority, and execute 
what may have been determined in common council ; 
that office the bishop sustained in the assembly of pres- 
byters. And the ancients themselves confess that it 
was introduced by human agreement, through the ne- 
cessity of the times. Thus Jerome, on the epistle to 
Titus, says ' A presbyter is the same as a bishop. 
And before that by the instigation of the devil dissen- 
sions were made in religion, and it was said among the 
people, I am of Paul, I of Cephas, the churches were 
governed by the common council of presbyters. After- 
ward, that the seeds of dissension might be taken away, 
the whole charge was committed to one. As, therefore, 
the presbyters know that they are subject by the cus- 
tom of the church to him who is over them ; so the 
bishops may have known that they are superior to the 
presbyters more by custom than by the Lord's appoint- 
ment, and ought to govern the church in common.' He 
elsewhere, however, teaches how ancient the institution 
was. For he says, at Alexandria, from Mark the evan- 
gelist to Heraclas and Dionysius, the presbyters always 
placed one chosen from themselves in a higher degree, 
whom they call bishop." — " To every city was allotted 
a certain region which received its presbyters from 
thence, and was added to the body of that church. — 
Every college (as I have said) was subject to one 
bishop, for the sake of government only and preserving 
peace , who so exceeded others in dignity that he was 
subject to the assembly of the brethren. But if the 
tract of country which was in his bishopric was so 
large that he could not fulfil all the duties of a bishop, 


presbyters were appointed in certain places through 
that country who should discharge his duty in minor 

In the sentence immediately following this extract, 
Dr. C. says : " In this passage Calvin fully admits the 
main facts contended for by Episcopalians."* He cer- 
tainly does admit in it the main facts contended for by 
Methodist Episcopalians , and if Dr. C. is satisfied with 
the footing on which Calvin places the subject in this 
passage, then am I perfectly content here to end the 
controversy, and to leave every reader for himself to 
judge and interpret Calvin's language without a word 
of comment from any quarter. For nothing, to my 
humble apprehension, could be more diametrically op- 
posite to Dr. C.'s "main" positions, than those here 
asserted by that learned and eminent reformer. 

On the same page with the above extract there is a 
note of Dr. C.'s, which seems to me to be a curiosity in 
logic. He undertakes to prove that Jerome " did not 
then confess it, as Calvin says," " that a presbyter is the 
same as a bishop." He commences, indeed, with say- 
ing, " according to Dr. Miller :" but concludes with the 
broad affirmation which I have just stated. What then 
did Jerome do? Why, says Dr. C, " He only inferred, 
and he himself calls it an opinion." That is to say, 
Jerome's words, according to Dr. Miller, are, — " A pres- 
byter therefore is the same as a bishop."! And yet 
Dr. C. gravely and stoutly denies that, even with regard 
to the primitive period of which Jerome was speaking, 
this is either a confession or an assertion that a pres- 
byter was the same as a bishop ! With an author who 
can allow himself such liberty argument surely must 
be hopeless. 

To be obliged to read the same things a hundred 
times over in one small volume is irksome enough , but 

* Page 198. t Miller's Letters, p. 180. 


to be obliged to answer them as often would be still 
more so ; and yet one must do this, or pass by much 
that Dr. C. says. The very strong terms and phrases 
" impossible," " utterly impossible," " the only possibi- 
lity," " the very idea is absurd," " an absurdity too 
great to be advocated by any man in his senses," and 
others similar, which so frequently occur in this gentle- 
man's production, seem to me neither to add any special 
grace to style, nor force to argument, and to evince 
rather more of overweening conceit of his own opinions 
on the part of the author, than of modest respect for his 
readers, who — as above said — within the vast scope of 
bare possibility, might possibly happen to differ from 

For example, Di. C. says, "The only possibility of a 
breach in the episcopal succession could arise from the 
bishops at some period of the church laying aside the 
ceremony of ordination, or allowing other than bishops 
to ordain bishops. The first idea is an absurdity too 
great to be advocated by any man in his senses , and 
as to the other, when no instance can be produced by 
the ablest and most learned advocates for presbyterian 
ordination, in which presbyters laid on hands by per- 
mission of the church until the year 657 — ."* 

Now in regard to "the first idea" in the above pas- 
sage, I would just remind Dr. C. of " the case of the 
episcopal churches in the United States" at the close of 
our revolutionary war , and then let him consider the 
" Sketch of a Frame of Government," offered by Dr. 
White on that occasion, in which he says, — " ' In each 
smaller district there should be elected a general vestry 
or convention, consisting of a convenient number, (the 
minister to be one. ) They should elect a clergyman their 
permanent president ; who, in conjunction with other 

* Page 206. Dr. C. afterward, page 210, acknowledges this date to be 
erroneous, and that what he alludes to here was in the fourth century, and 
not in the seventh, as here. 


clergymen, to be also appointed by the body, may exer 
cise such powers as are purely spiritual, particularly that 
of admitting to the ministry,' p. 11." 

" Again : ' The conduct meant to be recommended is, 
to include in the proposed frame of government a gene- 
ral approbation of episcopacy and a declaration of an 
intention to procure the succession as soon as conve- 
niently may be , but in the meantime to carry the plan 
into effect without waiting for the succession? Ibid., p. 15." 

" ' But it will also be said,' continues Dr. White, 
' that the very name of " bishop" is offensive ; if so, 
change it for another ; let the superior clergyman be a 
president, a superintende?it, or in plain English, and ac- 
cording to the literal translation of the original, an 
overseer However, if names are to be reprobated, be- 
cause the powers annexed to them are abused, there are 
few appropriated to either civil or ecclesiastical distinc- 
tions, which would retain their places in our catalogue.' 
Ibid., p. 17." 

Is it not plain from the above that Dr. W did not 
consider it so perfectly absurd an idea that there might 
be a valid episcopacy in fact, under whatever name, 
simply by election, without the usual ceremony of ordi- 
nation ? It would seem, he must either have meant this, 
or that there should be an episcopal consecration by 
presbyters. Dr. C. may take his choice. 

Again : some very learned men have been of opinion, 
(and I merely mention this in evidence that the idea 
possibly may not be so utterly absurd,) that the episco- 
pal church of Alexandria did perhaps actually dispense 
with the usual form of imposing hands in the creation of 
bishops, for about two hundred years ; using no other 
forms than simple election, and the subsequent instal- 
ment and salutation, as the army created an emperor, 
or deacons an archdeacon. 

As to the other part of Dr. C.'s alternative, viz., " al- 
lowing other than bishops [in his sense] to ordain 


bishops," — he cannot be permitted, without contradiction, 
to persist in repeating a hundred times over, when at 
least the long series of such ordinations, virtually or 
formally, in the ancient apostolical church of Alexan- 
dria stands recorded, in so many learned pages, an im- 
perishable refutation of the baseless assertion. Nor is 
there any evidence that " the church," universal or par- 
ticular, ever condemned them. As to " the ancient 
church" of the fourth and fifth centuries, and the coun- 
cils of that period, they have already been sufficiently 

The progressive tendency, as the church became 
more and more corrupt, and the hierarchy more firmly 
established, to restrict the right of ordaining bishops, is 
manifest from the fact, admitted by Dr. C.,f that after 
the rise of metropolitan bishops, they began gradually 
to claim to themselves this exclusive right. 

Before closing his work, Dr. C. says, " It has been 
doubted whether the ordination of Archbishop Parker, 
through whom all the bishops of the Protestant Episco- 
pal Church of England derive their ordination, was per- 
fectly canonical , because the persons who ordained him 
had been deprived of their bishoprics and expelled the 
country by the Popish party, on the accession of Mary 
to the crown of England. The question to be settled in 
this case is, whether a bishop who is expelled from his 
bishopric by a successful party, in the contest about 
doctrines which have in all ages agitated the church, 
is hereby deprived of his character of bishop.":}: 

On this quotation I would ask, (1.) Was the contest 
of the English reformers with the Church of Rome one 
merely " about doctrines V — Why, then, was that peti- 

* Dr. Jortin remarks, that " he who will believe all that he finds related 
by the writers of the fourth and fifth centuries, should be provided with a 
double portion of credulity, and have the stomach of an ostrich to digest 
fables." — Remarks on Eccl. Hist., vol. i, p. 168. 

t Page 207. % Ibid. 


tion inserted in the early litany of the Church of Eng- 
land, " From the tyranny of the bishop of Rome, and 
all his detestable enormities, good Lord, deliver u.s ?" 

(2.) What does Dr. C. mean by the episcopal " cha- 
racter ?" That he does not mean the personal religious 
or moral character of a bishop is plain. Does he 
mean, then, that mysterious something which Ro- 
manists assert to be imprinted in orders, and which 
some of them define to be " a power to work a spi- 
ritual effect ?" or, with others of them, does he admit 
" the character" to be merely " a deputation to a special 
office ?"* Whether, even according to the former defi- 
nition, the character may not be lost or taken away, I 
shall not here discuss.f But if Dr. C. intends it in the 

* The reader may see some curious disquisitions on this subject in Sarpi's 
History of the Council of Trent, page 593. In the debate in that body on 
the question of the character, was involved the fundamental point in this 
controversy, viz., whether in the sacrament of orders, as the Romanists con- 
sider it, any higher character can be imprinted than that of priesthood. Oa 
this point, even at that period, late in the sixteenth century, the doctors and 
theologues, prelates, and cardinals, in that famous papal assembly itself, 
were greatly divided. 

t The reader who desires to know the true "character" of those who 
filled the " apostolical chairs," both in the eastern and western churches, 
during a long series of the boasted successions, by divine right, from which 
high-church ultraists, Greek or Roman, Protestant or Papal, claim exclusive 
title to minister in holy things, may see it amply and revoltingly enough por- 
trayed in Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, vol. ii, pp. 389, 390. The fol- 
lowing is a specimen : — 

" I'o those who consider the primitive dignity, and the solemn nature of 
the ministerial character, the corruptions of the clergy must appear deplora- 
ble beyond all expression. These corruptions were mounted to the most 
enormous height in that dismal period of the church which we have now be- 
fore us. Both in the eastern and western provinces, the clergy were, for 
the most part, shamefully illiterate and stupid, ignorant more especially in 
religious matters, equally enslaved to sensuality and superstition, and capable 
of the most abominable and flagitious deeds. This miserable degeneracy of 
Hie sacred order was, according to the most credible accounts, principally 
owing to the pretended chiefs and rulers of the universal church, who in- 
dulged themselves in the commission of the most odious crimes, and aban- 
doned themselves to the lawless impulse of the most licentious passions 
without reluctance or remorse ; who confounded, in short, all difference be- 
tween just and unjust, to satisfy their impious ambition ; and whose spiritual 
empire was such a diversified scene of iniquity and violence as never was 


latter sense, then may it not be lost by deprivation, as 
in the case of the Protestant bishops, of whom Dr. C. 
speaks, in the reign of Mary, who were deprived by the 
existing authority, both ecclesiastical and civil 1 The 
case of the bishop of Worcester, who fled to the conti- 
nent on the death of Mary, and was recognised as a 
bishop in the Council of Trent, is not parallel. For in 
the latter case it was the papal church acknowledging 
its own bishop ; whereas, the former was that of bishops 
resisting and separating from that mother church from 
which they had derived their authority, and to which 
they had owed obedience ; and who, consequently, 
were schismatics, both on [Dr. C.'s] principles and those 
of the Church of Rome. 

Dr. Miller quotes a passage from Hilary, a Roman 
deacon in the fourth century, which he renders thus . — 
" In Egypt, even at this day, the presbyters ordain in 
the bishop's absence." No, says Dr. C, the passage 
does not mean that they ordain, but that they confirm ; 
the word used by Hilary is " consignant ;" which Ains- 
worth renders "seal, sign, mark, register, record, confirm, 
and ratify? Now, continues Dr. C, "there is not one 
of these words that does not correspond with the real 

exhibited under any of those temporal tyrants who have been the scourges of 
mankind. We may form some notion of the Grecian patriarchs from the 
single example of Theophylact, who, according to the testimonies of the most 
respectable writers, made the most impious traffic of ecclesiastical promo- 
tions, and expressed no sort of care about any thing but his dogs and horses. 
Degenerate, however, and licentious as these patriarchs might be, they were, 
generally speaking, less profligate and indecent than the Roman pontiffs. 

" The history of the Roman pontiffs, that lived in this century, is a history 
of so many monsters, and not of men, and exhibits a horrible series of the 
most flagitious, tremendous, and complicated crimes, as all writers, even 
those of the Romish communion, unanimously confess." 

Can the most veteran and indomitable controvertist have the hardihood 
seriously to undertake to persuade Protestant Christians of the 1 9th century, 
that the horrible " monsters" above mentioned, in both the eastern and west- 
ern hemisphere, were truly " called of God, as was Aaron," — " moved by the 
Holy Ghost," and throughout their flagitious career enjoyed exclusively the ful- 
filment of that gracious promise, " Lo, I am with you alway V He who can 
digest such a fable, must indeed, as Jortin said on another occasion, " have 
the stomach of an ostrich." 


signification of confirming by the bishop. — But there is 
not one of these words that has any reference to setting 
apart by ordination."* The reader will not forget that 
Dr. C. elsewhere denies as stoutly that presbyters 
anciently confirmed as that they ordained. Here he is 
obliged to admit it to be Hilary's testimony that they 
confirmed, in order to avoid admitting it as a testi- 
mony that they ordained. But then what becomes of 
the " character'''' imprinted in ordination ; if not one of 
the words used by Ainsworth to express the sense 
of consigno " has any reference to setting apart by or- 
dination ?" To " sign," to " mark," — have these terms 
no reference whatever to impressing or imprinting a 

But there is much more yet to be said as to the 
ground on which the regularity of the archiepiscopal 
ordination of Dr. Parker, through whom all the bishops 
of the Protestant Episcopal Church of England and 
America claim title, is disputed. In the reign of Henry 
VIII. the bishops of the Popish party, — although it does 
not appear that Cranmer (or perhaps the rest) did so, 
in that reign, as Burnet says, — took out commissions, 
by which they solemnly acknowledged " That all juris- 
diction, civil and ecclesiastical, flowed from the king, and 
that they exercised it only at the king's courtesie ; and 
as thej had of his bounty, so they would be ready to 
deliver it up when he should be pleased to call for it ; 
and therefore the king did empower them, in his stead, 
to ordain, give institution, and do all the other parts of 
the episcopal function, which was to last during his 
pleasure."! "By this [says Bishop Burnet expressly] 
they were made indeed the king's oishops"% 

Again : — In the succeeding reign of Edward VI., in 
the year 1547, the same historian says, "All that held 

* Page 125. 

t Burnet's Abridgment of the History of the Reformation, book i, pp. 
228, 229. 

X Ibid., p. 229. 


offices were required to come and renew their commis- 
sions, and to swear allegiance to the king : among the 
rest, the bishops came and. took out such commissions as 
were granted in the former reign, only by those they 
were subaltern to the king's vicegerent, but there being 
none now in that office, they were immediately subaltern 
to the king , and by them they were to hold their bishop- 
rics only during the king's pleasure, and were impow- 
ered in the king's name, as his delegates, to perform 
all the parts of the episcopal function. Cranmer set an 
example to the rest in taking out one of those. It was 
thought fit thus to keep the bishops under the terror of 
such an arbitrary power lodged in the king, that so it 
might be more easy to turn them out, if they should 
much oppose what might be done in points of religion • 
but the ill consequences of such an unlimited power 
being well foreseen, the bishops that were afterward 
promoted were not so fettered, but were provided to 
hold their bishoprics during life."* 

In the same reign an act of parliament was passed, 
" that the conge d'elire and the election pursuant to it 
being but a shadow, since the person was named by 
the king, should cease for the future, and that bishops 
should be named by the king's letters patent, and there- 
upon be consecrated."! 

" The form of the patent was, That the king appointed 
such a one to be bishop during his natural life, or as long 
as he behaved himself well ; and gave him power to 
ordain or deprive ministers, to exercise ecclesiastical 
jurisdiction, and perform all the other parts of the epis- 
copal function that by the word of God were committed 
to bishops, and this they were to do in the king's name 
and by his authority. "% 

Among those created bishops by the king's letters 
patent, by which he was empowered to ordain, and to 

* Burnet's Abridgment of the History of the Reformation, book ii, pp. 4, 6. 
t lb., p. 37. | lb., p. 193. 



perform all the other parts of the episcopal function, in 
the king's name and by his authority, was Barlow, one of 
those very persons by whom Dr. Parker was set apart 
for the office of archbishop.* Another of them was 
Scory, and Neal calls Barlow and Scory bishops elect."t 
He states also, that although Coverdale and Hodgkins, 
the remaining two, assisted in Parker's ordination, yet 
they never exercised the episcopal character afterward.^ 
It is certain, moreover, that efforts were made, in the 
first instance, to induce three of the Popish bishops who 
had not been deprived in the preceding reign to unite in 
the ordination, and they were first named (viz. Tonstal, 
Bourn, and Pool) in the warrant which was issued by 
the queen (Elizabeth) for this purpose. This is a de- 
monstration that the union of three bishops who had 
not been deprived was then deemed important, if not 
essential, to the canonical validity of the ordination . 
otherwise, the warrant, in the circumstances of that 
time, would never have embraced three Popish bishops. 
But not one of the bishops who had not been deprived 
would act. And hence the ordination, from necessity, 
not of choice, was performed by deprived bishops. 

In this state of facts then the objection to the canoni- 
cal validity of Dr. Parker's archiepiscopal ordination is, 
that it was performed by persons who had been legally 
deprived in the preceding reign, and had not been re- 
stored. About seven years afterward, indeed, the matter 
was brought before the British parliament, both houses 
of which, to silence clamor, confirmed the ordination 
of Parker, and the ordinations derived from him. But 
be it remembered, (1,) that this only proves the more 
strongly the seriousness of the doubts then existing as 
to the validity of what had been done ; and, (2,) that 
the confirmation of it by an act of parliament was, after 
all, but a lay confirmation. 

* Burnet's Hist., &c, p. 193. 

t History of the Puritans, vol. i, p. 181. \ Ibid. 



Yet farther :— In another part of his work, p. 149, 
Dr. C. argues that the consent or intention of the grantor 
is necessary to the validity of a grant , and builds a 
similar argument on the understanding of the grantee, 
at the time of receiving the grant. Now I have proved 
that in the year 1547 the English bishops took out epis- 
copal commissions as " subaltern to the king," and to 
perform all the parts of the episcopal function m his 
name, and as his delegates* On these terms, then, epis- 
copal authority was both granted and received, and it 
was so expressly understood and agreed by both parties 
at the time. The Protestant bishops among these were 
deprived in the succeeding reign ; and when they took 
part, in the year 1559, in the ordination of Parker, had 
never been legally restored. This I believe to be the 
true state of the case, and shall submit it to the reader's 
own judgment whether, on the principles by which the 
deprived bishops held their commissions, and those laid 
down by Dr. C. as above quoted, the episcopal ordina- 
tion of Dr. Parker was clearly and perfectly canonical 
and valid. 

* Burnet, Book ii, pp. 4, 5. 


[ Unfinished Remarks on Bishop Onderdoriti s tract, entitled 
" Episcopacy tested by Scripture."] 

In passing to Dr. Onderdonk's tract, the first remark 
I have to make is, that it is essentially defective in not 
furnishing at the outset a clear definition of the precise 
import which he attaches to the term " episcopacy.'' The 
manner in which he evidently avails himself of the vague- 
ness of this term throughout his tract renders his whole 
argument fallacious, and a mere sophism. The ground 
on which he proposes to build his argument is other- 
wise excellent, and exactly that on which we desire to 
meet all opponents; viz., "the Scriptural evidence of 
episcopacy" Equally excellent is the principle by 
which he agrees that the discussion ought to be restricted, 
viz., that " no argument is worth taking into account that 
has not a palpable bearing on the clear and naked topic, 
— the Scriptural evidence." I regret exceedingly, there- 
fore, that it did not occur to Dr. 0., or else that he did 
not find it convenient, or think it expedient, or even ne- 
cessary in order to a fair issue, to state with candour 
and precision what he means by a term of such funda- 
mental importance in the discussion as to involve within 
itself, it would seem, some one specific frame of polity, 
of universal and perpetual obligation, by Divine autho- 
rity, on the whole church of Christ on earth. This 
capital defect at the very commencement of Dr. 0.*s 
offer of an issue in the argument is the more to be re- 
gretted, because he undoubtedly knows, not only that 
the term " episcopacy" is a very vague one in itself, 
but that it is very variously understood, not only by dif- 
ferent denominations of Christians, but by different 
classes of the same denomination, and even within his 
own. The Ilomanists have an " episcopacy ;" the 
Church of England, and the Protestant Episcopal, and 
some others, an " episcopacy ;" and high and low church 


Episcopalians among themselves ; the Methodist Epis- 
copal have an " episcopacy ;" nay, Presbyterians admit 
and contend for " episcopacy " And I know not, in- 
deed, any denomination that, in some form and to some 
extent or other, does not both recognise the principle 
and practise the thing, viz., some species of ministerial 
superiority, — graduated or otherwise, — in a superintend- 
ing care, charge, government, inspection, or oversight 
of a church or churches. 

It seems to me, therefore, with great deference, that 
it is Dr. O. himself who inflicts the " forensic injustice" 
of complicating this " plain topic," by making up an 
issue so perfectly vague and indefinite that it may be 
widened or narrowed, stretched or shortened at conve- 
nience, as circumstances dictate, — to mean, in fact, 
almost just any thing or nothing. 

If by " episcopacy" be meant that high-church scheme 
of ecclesiastical polity which maintains that there are 
three, and only three, essentially distinct ministerial 
orders, divinely ordained to be universally and perpetu- 
ally binding on the church of Christ, so that without 
them there can be no true church or valid Christian 
ministry or ordinances, and that of these three orders 
the episcopal, as inherently and essentially distinct and 
supreme by Divine appointment and right, has alone 
and exclusively the power and authority to ordain other 
ministers, — and that all this is apparent from God's own 
word, as an essential part of the Christian revelation : — 
then we understand the issue, and are prepared to 
meet it. 

I must here, however, do Dr. 0. the justice to say, 
and I do it with pleasure, that from this issue he, at 
least, blenches ; and in so doing, as I humbly conceive, 
he clearly gives up the essence of the high-church 
cause, and confesses it to be untenable. It ought not 
to be forgotten, moreover, that this respectable prelate, 
the " assistant bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church 


in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania," wrote after 
Dr. C, with his book before him, and probably under- 
stood the subject at least as well as the medical gentle- 
man just named, and was evidently as much disposed 
to press the high-church pretensions to as great an ex- 
tent as he conscientiously could. Yet this more candid, 
more liberal, or better informed opponent, with all his 
manifest predisposition and bias to the other side, felt 
himself bound to say that those who "maintain that 
episcopacy is essential to the being of a church," assert 
an " extreme opinion," to which he " subscribes not."* 

Inconsistent, however, as Dr. O. is, in admitting that 
episcopacy, in his sense of it, is not essential to the 
being of a church, and yet maintaining that " no plea," 
not even that of " necessity," will justify a departure 
from it, — I shall proceed with an examination of the 
process by which he reaches his conclusions. And in 
doing so, I must give notice, once for all, that in speak- 
ing of episcopacy as advocated by him, I do it always 
in the high-church sense, with the single exception 
above named, as to its indispensableness to the being 
of a church. 

Another fatal fallacy which lurks at the very founda- 
tion of Dr. O.'s argument is the indefinite phrase under 
cover of which he would introduce the absolutely impe- 
rative character of episcopacy as a duty of moral obli- 
gation, in obedience to a Divine ordinance. " If episco- 
pacy [he says] be set forth in Scripture, it is the ordi- 
nance of God , and the citizens professing Christianity 
are individually bound to conform to it."t 

If it be " set forth" in Scripture ! How convenient a 
phrase ! and why used ? Why not say plainly, If it be 
commanded in Scripture ? Obviously, because it is well 

* Page 5. [A note in the MS. here indicates that the author intended to 
insert something corresponding to vvhanuay be found on p. 10. -Ed.] 
t Page 4. 


known that it is not so. And why then should we la- 
bour and exert even the utmost ingenuity of sophistry 
itself to make the commandment broader than it is 1 Is 
it not, as it stands, "exceeding broad," — exactly as it 
should be, having neither redundancy nor defect ? Who 
then hath required it at our hands to add to it, and to 
narrow the very covenant mercies of the Father of mer- 
cies ? May there not be danger on this side as well as 
on the other? And where, at least, there is so much 
doubtfulness and difference of opinion among confess- 
edly wise and good men, as to either extreme, is not a 
medium, as before said, the more probable and safer 
ground ? 

The very subtile (I say not subtle) and almost imper- 
ceptible manner in which Dr. O. would lead his readers, 
step by step, through the gradations of his argument, 
from the slenderest premises, is indeed worthy of the 
" forensic" ingenuity of a special pleader. At a subse- 
quent stage, he takes the ground, interrogatively , that 
" a mere hint or intimation contained in Scripture, (always 
excepting what refers to things or circumstances de- 
clared to be transient, or such in their nature,) though. 
it have not the force of an express command, is — suffi- 
ciently binding on every servant of God."* And although 
at one time he distinctly disallows " that episcopal 
claims unchurch all non-episcopal denominations," and 
admits that such may be worthy professors of the true 
religion, accepted of God through the Saviour, and not 
only not inferior to " the church" but even superior to it 
in both moral and spiritual character, yet in the very 
next paragraph he assumes that those same " episcopal 
claims" can be sufficiently proved from Scripture, to 
make their rejection " a clear contravention of the word 
of God" pp. 6, 7. Now, in the first place, it is denied 
that there is even any " hint or intimation" in Scripture 

* Page 10. 


that it is " the Divine will" that high-church episcopacy 
should be, . universally and perpetually, the morally 
obligatory constitution of all Christian churches. And 
it is affirmed, on the other hand, that there are very 
many hints and intimations from which the contrary 
may be most fairly inferred. And, in the second place, 
the very resort to mere hints and intimations, by a dis- 
putant of such ability, and so well read in Scripture, 
seems a sufficient indication that he was himself con- 
scious of the extreme scantiness of any better Scripture 
proofs, and consequently of the extreme questionable- 
ness and narrowness, to sa;f the least, of the foundation 
on which he would rear his weighty fabric. 

In regard to Dr. O.'s illustrations of Scripture hints 
or illustrations, his interpretation of some is denied, and 
the appositeness and force of others. He says, for ex- 
ample, — " St. Paul says of the Gentiles, ' These, having 
not the law, are a law unto themselves :' they had not 
the positive revealed law, yet the light of nature, which 
only intimates what we ought to do, but does not spe- 
cifically prescribe it, was ' a law' to them, having suffi- 
cient obligation to make its suggestions their duty, and 
to give those suggestions full authority in ' their con- 
science :' and surely the hints recorded by the Deity 
in his word are not inferior in obligation to those afford- 
ed in his works."* 

Now (1,) by "the law" which the Gentiles had not, 
Rom. ii, 14, St. Paul evidently meant the written law. 
as contained in the Old Testament, and (2,) he says no 
such thing as that " the light of nature" " afforded in his 
works" — the works of Deity — " intimates what we ought 
to do," or " was a law to them," — the Gentiles, — " having 
sufficient obligation to make its suggestions their duty, 
and to give those suggestions full authority in their con- 
science." We deny this whole doctrine. And St. Paul 

• Page 10. 


plainly shows that he meant no such thing, by adding 
immediately in the next verse, "which show the work of 
the law written in their hearts :" — by the very same hand, 
doubtless, — for what other hand could do it, — which 
engraved the commandments on the tables of stone. 
This was to them, then, a positive Divine law, — their 
authoritative rule of action and of judgment, which they 
could not slight or violate and be guiltless, or " accepted 
with God." 

As an illustration of his position, Dr. O. says : — 
" There is no record of a command to observe a Sab- 
bath during the whole antediluvian and patriarchal 
ages ; will it then be alleged that the mere declaration 
that God ' blessed and sanctified the seventh day' did 
not sufficiently imply that it was the Divine will that the 
seventh day should be kept holy ?"* 

Does Dr. O. seriously intend to say, then, that the 
sanctity of the Sabbath as a Divine institution is not 
expressly contained in the very words of the institution 
as recorded by the inspired historian? The original 
Hebrew word tsnp, rendered in our version sanctified, 
(literally, made holy,) in the Septuagint is i/yia&v, (of the 
same import.) Buxtorf, — " sacrari, consecrari, sancti- 
ficari, sanctum, sacrum esse vel fieri." Leigh's Critica 
Sacra, — " Ab usu communi ad divinum separatus, con- 
secratus," &c. And by Parkhurst (on this place) — 
" To set apart, separate, or appropriate to sacred or reli- 
gious purposes, to sanctify, to consecrate." 

His second example is from "the rite of sacrifice," 
respecting which he asks whether " the record of the 
example of Abel in the antediluvian age, and of those 
of Noah, Abraham, &c, afterward, were not sufficient 
intimations from God that to offer this sacramental atone- 
ment was a duty " The answer to this is, (1,) That 
without a direct revelation from God of his will in this 

* Page 10. 


respect, there is no reason to believe that the idea of 
offering animals in sacrifice as a sacramental atone- 
ment would ever have entered into the mind of man, or 
have been his duty and, (2,) that in the cases of Abel 
and Noah, the Divine pleasure in this specific, definite 
thing was explicitly signified and, (3,) that in the ease 
of Abram it was explicitly commanded ; see Gen. xv, 
9, &c. ; and the command contained an epitome of that 
very law of sacrifices afterward more fully revealed 
through Moses. 

His third example is from the creation, for each other, 
of one man and one woman ; and it is asked if this be 
not a sufficient intimation that polygamy is contrary to 
the will of God. With our present light this would seem 
so. And yet this is an unfortunate example for Dr. O.'s 
theory For how does he reconcile it with the practice 
of polygamy by some of those who, under that dispen- 
sation, stood highest, nevertheless, in the Divine favour? 

His fourth is, that " there is no positive command for 
infant baptism," and yet a sufficiency, " whether as ex- 
amples or as intimations," to authorize it. In all the 
arguments for infant baptism we agree, and urge them 
for the conviction of others. But we think it is also 
positively commanded, at least as positively as female 
communion. The command is to disciple all nations, 
which Dr. O., it is presumed, will agree to be the true 
import of the original, Matt, xxviii, 19. And as children 
are a part of all nations, and may be discipled, they are 
as clearly embraced in the command as females are in 
reference to the communion under the term man. And, 
corresponding with this is the express promise annexed 
to the ordinance, — " For the promise is to you and to 
your children," Acts ii, 39 : a term embracing their pos- 
terity certainly, — but as certainly, in our estimation, 
their offspring then living. 

His fifth is in regard to the change of the day of rest 
and devotion, from the seventh to the first. Does he 


mean to say, then, that the moral obligation consists in 
the observance of the first day specifically, or of a se- 
venth part of time in other words, is he of opinion 
that there are sufficient hints in Scripture to constitute 
the former a Christian law of universal and perpetual 
obligation, the neglect of which would be sinful, even 
where the latter, — the seventh day for example, — the 
laws of any country allowing it, should be sacredly and 
conscientiously observed 1 

But if Dr. O.'s rule be a good one, it ought to admit 
of being carried through and if it be found to prove 
too much, it must be allowed to be good for nothing. 
The objection that monarchy is " set forth" in Scripture, 
as well as episcopacy, he has answered in a note, 
pp. 43, 44. But some of the very points made in that 
answer justify, I think, some other objections, to which 
I do not perceive how that answer, or any other on his 
principles, can satisfactorily be applied. He says, for 
example, that monarchy, being an ordinance of man, 
might be changed by man , and when the objector urges 
farther that the Deity himself gave a king to Israel, he 
answers that it was " in anger." Suppose then we take 
(1,) the case of a national church — a national ecclesi- 
astical establishment , and, (2,) a corresponding esta- 
blishment by law of the system of tithes. Such, indis- 
putably, were the institutions which Jehovah ordained 
for his ancient church and people, — and certainly not 
in anger. And high churchmen, moreover, and Dr. C. 
especially, very strenuously and boldly insist upon it 
that " what Aaron and his sons were, bishops and 
priests now are." If this analogy be a correct one, is it 
not a pretty strong " intimation" of what ought to follow, 
and the " hint" that a national establishment and tithes 
are, agreeable to the Divine will, as clearly " set forth" 
in Scripture as some others of Dr. O 's " examples ?" 
In one of his notes, p. 44, he says, — " It has been said 
that the appointment of a king for Israel by the Deity, 


is an intimation of the Divine will in favour of royal go- 
vernment, and that therefore that form of civil magis- 
tracy must be as binding as episcopacy We reply, (he 
continues,) that if such an intimation of the Divine will 
existed, it would unquestionably be binding on Chris- 
tians." He then proceeds to show that this was not the 
fact, because a king was given to them " in anger," in 
consequence of their perverseness and ambition in in- 
sisting on having one. But this reasoning does not at 
all apply to the national church establishment and tithes, 
which, according to Dr. O.'s doctrine of intimations and 
his reasoning upon it, must be binding on Christians, 
and, consequently, conformity to these intimations can- 
not be refused, in nations professing Christianity, "in 
foro conscientice, onimoque integro." 

Again : Was it not sufficiently intimated under the 
Levitical economy, that ^priests ought not to enter the 
service of the sanctuary till thirty years of age, and that 
they ought to be discharged at fifty 1 Did not our Lord 
give an example in his own case of not entering on the 
work of the ministry till thirty years of age ; and of 
washing the disciples' feet 1 Is there not a sufficient in- 
timation of the Divine approbation of the community of 
goods in the first Christian church : and in choosing an 
apostle by lot Paul's circumcising Timothy the taking 
of illiterate men from the common occupations of life for 
apostles and ministers 1 

Other examples might be adduced, but for the present 
I shall rest this part of the cause with these. 

In order to prove the duty of obedience to wicked and 
worthless priests and bishops, Dr. O. alleges that saving 
of our Lord, " The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' 
seat," &c, Matt, xxiii, 2. It should be observed, how- 
ever, (1,) That our Lord simply states the fact, "they 
sit," &c, or rather, they "sat;" for in the Greek the 
verb is in the past tense. (2,) That they occupied that 
seat by national authority ; and so far obedience was due 


to them as a national constitution, and as readers of the 
law and of the prophets. But that he did not mean to 
say that those wicked men among them who then occu- 
pied it, did so by Divine appointment or with the Divine 
approbation, or that the people were bound to render 
them unlimited obedience, is manifest from his own 
heavy denunciation of them in that same chapter, and 
elsewhere, as a very generation of vipers, charging them 
with even making void the law of God through their 
traditions and teaching, that they shut up the kingdom 
of heaven against men, and made their proselytes even 
doubly more the children of hell than themselves. If, 
therefore, Dr. 0. could ever allege Scripture for the mere 
fact that " bishops," whether by national law, usage, or 
usurpation, " sit in the apostles' seats" still, if they be 
such a generation as those scribes and Pharisees were, 
making their proselytes even doubly more the chil- 
dren of hell than themselves, and making void the law, 
&c, we should say that they ought to be denounced as 
our Lord denounced those whited sepulchres of that day, 
and the people taught to beware of them, and placed as 
soon as practicable under the guidance of better teachers 
than those " fools and blind," however learned, &c. But 
Dr. 0. produces no such scripture as that " bishops sit 
in the apostles' seats."* And for such a " claim" — a 
claim which asserts for bishops, however wicked and 
worthless, erroneous in doctrine, and fatally corrupting 
in morals — the place of infallible guides, as the apostles 
were, to whom universal, perpetual, implicit obedience 
is due, no authority short of a direct and positive " thus 
saith the Lord," can be allowed ; nor, indeed, does such 
a thing seem possible, without imputing sin and contra- 
diction to the Deity himself. 

As to Balaam, although he prophesied the truth, 
though himself " a wicked man," yet Dr. 0. certainly 

* Page 5. 


knows who hath said, " Many will say to me in that day, 
Lord, Lord, have w r e not prophesied in thy name, &c, 
and then will I profess unto them, i" never knew you ; 
depart from me," &c., I never appointed, approved, nor 
acknowledged you as mine. 

In regard to the farther plea for the obligation on the 
people to continue in subjection to wicked priests, and 
in communion with wicked churches, from the fact that 
"the sons of Eli, bad as they were, ceased not to be 
priests," and that "the Israelites at large were often cor- 
rupt and idolatrous," yet " never lost their standing as 
the earthly and visible church, till their dispensation was 
superseded by that of the Gospel ;"* there are two an- 
swers the first is, that the Jewish institution was of a 
mixed character, being national and political, as well as 
ecclesiastical ; and the priests were such by hereditary 
descent, which Dr. might just as well allege as a suf- 
ficient intimation that it ought to be so still. But the 
Christian dispensation, being designed for the whole race 
of man, and to be perpetual, is wholly spiritual, having 
no connection with any political or national establish- 
ment whatever. " My kingdom," said its Founder em- 
phatically, " is not of this world ;" and hence the polity 
of a Jewish politico-ecclesiastical institution, and the 
precedents tolerated under it, have no binding force what- 
ever, since that dispensation has been totally abolished, 
and is now " superseded" by another, wholly pure and 

The second answer is, that Dr. O.'s argument would 
have been an admirable on« for the papal hierarchy at the 
era of the Reformation, and if it be a just and conclusive 
one, demonstrates that the Church of England and the 
Protestant Episcopal Church in this country are schis- 
matical, and ought to have continued in communion with 
" the Church" which then was, though all its priests 

* Page 5. 


should even have been as bad as the sons of Eli, and the 
Church " at large," like the priests, " corrupt," and even 
" idolatrous :" such seems to me to be the inevitable con- 
sequence of Dr. O.'s argument, if a good one ; that there- 
fore the champions of Rome ought not to have been 
" worsted by the extraneous argument" of the glorious 
reformers, founded on the corruptions, the oppressions, 
the false doctrines, (like those of the scribes and Phari 
sees who sat in Moses' seat, making void the command- 
ments of God by their tradition and teaching,) or even 
the idolatrous character of the Church at large, and the 
" detestable enormities of its bishops and priests." The 
argument certainly proves too much for the Protestant 
cause, and, if a conclusive one, ought manifestly to 
drive us all back to " the Church" from which our pre- 
decessors so wickedly separated. 

In proceeding to the second department of his essay, 
" an exhibition of the Scriptural evidence relating to this 
controversy," Dr. O. professes to " begin by stating the 
precise point at issue." This, he says, is " between two 
systems only, episcopacy, and parity, or the Presbyte- 
rian ministry :"* and by " parity," he states that he 
means that system which " declares that there is but 
one order" of men authorized to minister in sacred 
things. We beg leave to repeat, therefore, that between, 
high church and us, this is not the issue. There is a 
third or middle system, which is that of the Methodist 
Episcopal polity. This system not only admits but 
maintains the doctrine of two orders, strictly considered, 
and a third degree, or grade, officially superior in execu- 
tive authority and jurisdiction to the body of presbyters 
out of which and by which it is constituted. To this 
officially superior order, in a more general sense of this 
term, is committed, according to this system, also the 
exclusive and actual authority to ordain, the general 
supervision, whether in a smaller or larger diocess, and 

* Page 11. 


the chief administration of spiritual discipline, besides 
enjoying all the powers of the other grades. Yet one 
cannot go so far with Dr. 0. as to say, '" If we cannot 
authenticate the claims of the episcopal office, we will 
surrender those of our deacons, and let all power be 
confined to the one office of presbyters.*" 

So far as we are concerned, then, Dr. O.'s statement 
of the issue is a mere begging of the question. The 
true issue between him and us is, Is ordination by pres- 
byters, in any exigence and under any and all circum- 
stances, wholly incompatible with episcopacy, in the Scrip- 
tural sense of that term or thing, and in itself, by God's 
word, unlawful and void 1 The affirmative of this ques- 
tion is what Dr. O. has to sustain, if his argument is to 
have any bearing on us ; and, in this view of it, I pro- 
ceed to an examination of his scripture proofs. 

It is proper here to premise, however, and I beg the 
reader to bear it in mind, that as Dr. O. distinctly admits 
that there may be true Christian churches without epis- 
copacy, it follows necessarily either that episcopacy is 
not essential to the validity of ordination to the ministry, 
or that there may be true Christian churches, (and if 
some, why not all,) without any ministers at all. An ar- 
gument so incongruous must have some flaw, however 
ingeniously it may be concealed. 

At the outset of this " second department" of his essay, 
Dr. O. frankly concedes that the name " bishop," in Scrip- 
ture, is given to presbyters, and that " all that we read 
in the New Testament concerning ' bishops,' (including 
of course the words ' overseers' and ' oversight,' which 
have the same derivation,) is to be regarded as pertain- 
ing to that grade," viz., the order of presbyters. " The 
highest grade he [continues] is there found in those 
called ' apostles,' and in some other individuals, as Titus, 
Timothy, and the angels of the seven churches in Asia 

* Page 11. — A note in the MS. indicates that it was intended here also 
to insert from page 10, ante. 


Minor, who have no official designation given them. It 
was after the apostolic age [he adds] that the name 
'bishop' was taken from the second order and appro- 
priated to the first, as we learn from Theodoret, one of 
the fathers."* 

How is this? After such a preliminary flourish of 
trumpets, long and loud, about going into Scripture 
alone with the naked question, freed from all extraneous 
considerations, and exclusively of all other sources of 
authority or argument, we find ourselves, at the very 
start, referred to " Theodoret, one of the fathers !" What 
fathers ? Peter we know, and Paul we know , but in 
this issue, as offered by Dr. O. himself, who is Theo- 
doret? Whatever he may be elsewhere, he is an intru- 
der here, and cannot be suffered to say one word, good 
or bad, on either side. 

In his note on the same place, Dr. O. refers to " Vi- 
delius" also, in support of the same position. We pro- 
test against his admission also, whether he be episcopal 
or non-episcopal. We demand a clear field ; the field 
chosen, proposed by Dr. O. himself — the Scripture 
alone : and if he find not there sufficient for his pur- 
pose, without aid, direct or incidental, from any other 
quarter whatever, his only alternative is to give up the 
contest. The very fact of his flying off to such " extra- 
neous aid," is sufficient indication that he was sensible 
of the difficulty, if. not the impossibility, of connecting 
his chain without it. He must assume something, or go 
out of Scripture, or inevitably fail, as we believe, to 
make out his case. 

This course on the part of Dr. O is the more surpris- 
ing, as he himself had previously said of certain unin- 
spired authorities referred to, " We reject, therefore, this 
whole extraneous appendage of the controversy before 
us ;" and then adds, "that the rule applies to the fathers, 
as much as to later ornaments of the church, "f Is it 

* Page 12. t Pages 8, 9. 



not passing strange, then, that within a few pages after- 
ward, he should himself attempt to avail himself of the 
authority of one of those very fathers — nay, a father of 
the fifth century, and a prelate too! 

No evidence then of any thing that was " taken from" 
the order of presbyters, "after the apostolic age," whe- 
ther in name or otherwise, can be admitted in the argu- 
ment before us. This would be to travel out of the 
Scripture record ; and by that record alone this cause 
must be tried. 

Again : Within a few sentences afterward, Dr. O. 
says, " The original meaning of bishop was only a pres- 
byter, but the name passed from that middle grade to 
the highest."* Here again we must stop him, unplea- 
sant and inconvenient as it may be. There is no such 
evidence in the record, and he must not travel out of it. 
His assumption, or mere gratuitous assertion, (for the 
statement amounts to nothing more,) can no more be 
allowed, under this issue, than the evidence of Theo- 

The name " bishop," then, being given up by Dr. O. 
as meaning, in Scripture, no higher order than presby- 
ter, his next resort is, to see " if we can find the thing 
sought, i. e., an office higher than that of presbyters oi 

If this be "the thing sought," there neither is nor can 
be any controversy on the subject. That there are in 
the New Testament higher offices mentioned than that 
of mere presbyters or bishops, I presume no one can 
think of questioning. But, unfortunately for Dr. O.'s 
system, his argument again proves too much. If one 
higher office can be proved by it, most assuredly several 
can ; and consequently, on this basis, more than three 
orders must necessarily be admitted. For example, to 
repeat a passage above quoted from Dr. O., in which he 
says, "the highest grade is there found [in the New 

* Page 12. t ft 1 * 1 - 



Testament] in those called apostles, and in some other 
individual^ as Titus, Timothy," &c. Now (to say 
nothing - at present of the angels of the Asiatic churches, 
about whom the Scriptures give us so little information) 
does any unsophisticated reader of the New Testament, 
who has no system or purposes of party to serve, believe 
that any " other individuals" exercised the same office 
that the apostles did? Rejecting all regard to mere 
names, and looking at things and facts, can any thing be 
plainer than that the offices of Titus and Timothy, for in- 
stance, (as Dr. O. names these particularly) were inferior 
to that of Paul 1 Thus much on this point here, by the 
way. It will be resumed hereafter. 

In another place, Dr. O. says of the word '"'bishop," 
" In Scripture, it means a presbyter, properly so called ; 
out of Scripture, according to the usage next to univer- 
sal of all ages since the sacred canon was closed, it 
means"* — Dear sir, you must be pleased to excuse us 
for interrupting you so frequently — no "usage," any 
more than other testimony " out of Scripture" has any 
place here, and you cannot be allowed to introduce it : 
you yourself have given the challenge to test this ques 
tion by Scripture alone, and to that you must confine 
yourself, or acknowledge yourself " worsted." 

As to the " fact of the existence of episcopacy" in 
Scripture, — that is to say, that there was, in' the apos- 
tolical age, an official oversight both of churches and 
ministers, with us there is no dispute. We admit, and 
maintain, as fully as Dr. 0. does or can, that the apos- 
tles, in common, did exercise such an oversight — an 
itinerant general superintendency over the whole 
church, which was an itinerant general episcopacy in 
fact ; and that others under them did exercise a subor- 
dinate oversight by their appointment and direction ; 
this we grant with all readiness and pleasure, as we 
shall do whatever does appear in the Scripture, lead us 

*Page 12. 


where it may. We agree, moreover, that it is a fair 
inference from this fact, that an official itinertnk general 
oversight, both of churches and ministers, is agreeable to 
the apostolical practice. But that the office and authority 
of the apostolate itself have been transmitted, by divine 
appointment, to any order of men since the apostles, we 
affirm to be a mere assumption, unsupported by any 
thing in Scripture, or that can be logically inferred 
from it. 

Dr. O. takes great pains to prove, what I apprehend 
no one denies, that there was originally a sacred office, 
viz., that of the apostles, superior to that of elders or 
presbyters ; " and this [he adds] is substantiating nearly 
the whole episcopal claim."* 

Is it possible, then, that this is the amount of what 
Dr. O. has been labouring through sixteen pages to 
accomplish ? Why, if he had simply stated this proposi- 
tion at the outset, it would, I presume, have been uni- 
versally admitted ; at least it certainly would by us. 
And yet it is so far from " substantiating nearly the 
whole episcopal claim," of those who arrogantly assert 
that they occupy now, by divine right and title, the 
identical office which the apostles did while on earth in 
the age of inspiration, that it is not even a single hair's 
breadth advance toward it. So far as Scripture testimomj 
alone is concerned, (and in the argument now before us 
nothing else can be admitted,) the theory that those now 
called bishops are successors, by divine appointment, to 
the apostolate itself, as it was held and exercised by the 
apostles personally in their lifetime, under a direct com- 
mission from the Lord Jesus in person, is a mere bare- 
faced hypothesis, an utterly gratuitous assumption, 
against taking which for granted " all sound reasoning 
protests." That the establishment of this high " episco- 
pal claim," on the part of himself and others, is, how- 
ever, absolutely essential to Dr. 's argument, if he do 

* Page 16. 


not mean to trifle with his readers, is perfectly manifest : 
and yet how is he to make it out from Scripture, and 
Scripture alone ? To any one acquainted with Scripture 
is it not as plain as the brightest shining of the mid-day 
sun, that it is impossible to do it? and that Dr. O. has 
therefore undertaken an absolutely impossible task ? 

In preparing for the above conclusion, Dr. O. seems 
solicitous to enlarge the original college of apostles by 
embracing within it several, who, strictly speaking, in 
regard to the thing, the primary apostolate, distinctively 
understood, have no title to be placed in that rank. In 
a former part of his essay, indeed, when it seemed sub- 
servient to his purpose, he was careful and ready 
enough to insist that " irregularity in titles and desig- 
nations is of so frequent occurrence, yet occasions so 
little actual confusion, that it ought not to be viewed as 
a real difficulty in the case before us.* Exactly so, say 
we, in the present instance. It is the thing we seek, — 
the proper, distinctive, original apostolate, — not the 
mere name apostle, — which Dr. O. undoubtedly knows 
is variously used in Scripture, and sometimes in its 
simple etymological sense, to signify a mere messenger 
on any occasion or mission whatever. Thus St. Paul 
says to the Philippians, (ii, 25,) that Epaphroditus, 
their messenger, [Gr. kkoctoIov, apostle,] had ministered 
to his wants. Examples need not be multiplied ; as it 
is believed that no intelligent and candid reader of the 
New Testament, both in the Greek and English, will 
dispute that this term is sometimes used there in its 
lower, common sense. Yet, as Dr. O. himself well re- 
marks of some other names, " this confusion is but appa- 
rent, there is no real or practical difficulty" in the case ; 
a familiar acquaintance with the Scriptures, with even 
a moderate degree of attention and care, will enable 
almost any reader to distinguish readily the proper 

* Page 12. 


apostolical office, in its highest distinctive sense, inde- 
pendently of mere names. 

When Dr. O. argues, therefore, that " the apostles 
were not thus distinguished because they were appointed 
by Christ personally ; for some are named ' apostles' in 
Scripture who were not thus appointed, as Matthias, 
Barnabas, and probably James the brother of the Lord, 
all ordained by merely human ordainers Silvanus also, 
and Timothy, and besides Andronicus and Junia others 
could be added," he evidently violates the just principle 
by which he wishes to restrict opponents, and argues 
from the mere name, without due regard to the proper 
distinctions of things. 

With regard to Matthias, in what manner Dr. O. 
would make out that he was not appointed by Christ 
personally, but was " ordained by merely human ordain- 
ers," does not appear. He gives us barely his own as- 
sertion for it ; which cannot be admitted as Scripture 
evidence. The testimony of that record, on the con- 
trary, is, that previously to the day of Pentecost, when 
the vacancy in the apostolate occasioned by the apos- 
tacy and death of Judas was to be filled, Peter stood 
up, and after an introductory statement, said, " Where- 
fore of these men which have companied with us all 
the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 
beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day 
that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to 
be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they ap- 
pointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed 
Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, 
Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whe- 
ther of these two thou hast chosen, that he may take 
part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas 
by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. 
And they gave forth their lots, and the lot fell upon Mat- 
thias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles."* 

* Acts i, 21-26. 


The word " ordained," in the 22d verse of the above 
passage, may possibly mislead such readers as are not 
able to examine the passage in the original Greek. 
Such as are able to do so, however, will be convinced, 
I am persuaded, by a moment's inspection, that there 
is no word there in the Greek which can with any 
propriety be rendered " ordained," in the present ordi- 
nary acceptation of the term. The words in the 
Greek, as constructively connected in the 21st and 
22d verses, are a« yeveadat, — must be. That any ec- 
clesiastical rite, " by mere human ordainers," such as 
imposition of hands, &c, was used on that occasion 
in the appointment of Matthias to fill the vacancy 
in the apostolate, there is not one single particle of 
evidence. On the contrary, after Peter's express men- 
tion of the Lord Jesus in a preceding verse, the in- 
spired record continues, " And they prayed and said, 
Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all, show 
whether of these two thou hast chosen, that he may 
take part of this ministry and apostleship, . and they 
gave forth their lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and 
he was numbered with the eleven apostles :" — obvi- 
ously (if we take this record alone for our guide, as in 
this argument we must,) without any farther ceremony, 
or the interposition of any "mere human ordainers" 
about it. The case was referred, for that peculiar ex- 
traordinary office, to the direct personal appointment of 
the Lord Jesus himself. This Matthias had, in common 
with the other eleven who then composed the apostolic 
college. That it was signified by " the lot" does not at 
all alter the case , for whatever was the specific mode 
of that lot, of which the record does not inform us, it is 
plain on the face of the account that the apostles re- 
ferred its result to the infallible decision of the Lord 
himself; and that they believed that He himself did so 
decide that result ; and therefore, without another word 


or farther act on the subject, according to the record, 
Matthias " was numbered with the eleven apostles." 

Should Dr. 0., however, persist in insisting that Mat- 
thias was ordained to the apostolate " by mere human 
ordainers," it seems to me that he will inevitably in- 
volve himself in the heresy of lay ordination, even to 
the very highest ecclesiastical office. For let any plain, 
unbiased reader carefully examine the whole account, 
and we will cheerfully submit it to his judgment whe- 
ther, whatever of mere human agency there was in the 
ordination of Matthias to that office, it was not, so far 
as the record gives us any information, participated in 
by the whole of the one hundred and twenty disciples. 

In regard to Barnabas, there is by no means clear evi- 
dence that he was an apostle, in the highest sense of 
this term, as the twelve and Paul were. The contrary 
opinion is held by eminent critics, and seems the more 
probable one. From a case so doubtful, therefore, no- 
thing can be inferred with certainty. The manner in 
which Dr. O. himself says, " probably James the bro- 
ther of the Lord," shows his own uncertainty as to the 
identity of this person, or the propriety of placing him 
in this class ; and it will therefore be as useless as it is 
unnecessary to discuss the question respecting him, on 
which the most eminent critics are so much at variance. 

But why need I go through the list, since Dr. 0. ob 
viously takes advantage merely of the name without 
regard to the thing implied in the apostolical office in its 
distinctive and highest sense. As to Andronicus and 
Junia, it is very doubtful whether they were ever named 
apostles in any sense. Rom. xvi, 7, is, to say the least, 
a very doubtful passage as to that point. Junia may 
even have been the name of a woman, the wife of An- 
dronicus, for ovyyevus, rendered Iwismen in our version, 
signifies relatives in general, whether male or female. 
And that they were " of note among the apostles," most 


probably means nothing more than that they were highly 
esteemed by them. 

Silas was a chief man " among the brethren," and " a 
faithful brother," as Peter supposed.* And that Timo- 
thy was subject to the directions of St. Paul, and offi- 
cially inferior to him, is too plain to be disputed. To 
attempt, therefore, as Dr. O. does, to class among " apos- 
tles," distinctively and properly so called, persons whom 
he alleges to have been " ordained by mere human 
ordainers," for the sake of establishing the position that 
those now called bishops occupy by divine right the 
same office, is to exalt the episcopate at the expense of 
the apostolate, and thereby, just in the same proportion 
as this is done, to diminish the credit and the autho- 
rity of Christianity itself. 

The following observations on this subject from the 
pen of Dr. Campbell, are so much in point that I sub- 
mit them entire to the consideration of the reader. — 

" Many, indeed, convinced that it is in vain to search 
for the office of bishop, as the word is understood by 
moderns, in those ministers ordained by the apostles in 
the churches which they founded, have referred us for 
its origin to the apostolate itself. I have passingly ob- 
served already that this was one of those extraordinary 
offices which were in their nature temporary, and did 
not admit succession. But this point, as so much stress 
is laid upon it, will deserve to be examined more par 

" The apostles may be considered in a twofold view, — 
either in their general character as the first pastors of 
the church and teachers of the Christian faith, or in 
what is implied in their special character of apostles of 
Jesus Christ. In the first general view they are doubt- 
less the predecessors of all those who, to the end of the 
world, shall preach the same gospel and administer the 
same sacraments, by whatever name we distinguish 
them, bishops, priests, or deacons, — overseers, elders, 


or ministers. But the question still recurs, whether, 
agreeably to the primitive institution, their successors, 
in respect of the more common character of teachers 
and directors of the churches, should be divided into 
three orders or only into two? To presume, without 
evidence, that the first and not the second was the fact, 
is merely what logicians call a petitlo principii, taking 
that for granted which is the very point in dispute. 
But if it be alleged, that not in the general character of 
teachers, but in their special function as apostles, the 
bishops are their proper successors, the presbyters and 
deacons being only the successors of those who were 
in the beginning ordained by the apostles, this point 
will require a separate discussion. And for this pur- 
pose your attention is entreated to the following remarks. 

" First, the indispensable requisites in an apostle suffi- 
ciently demonstrate that the office could be but tempo- 
rary It was necessary that he should be one who had 
seen Jesus Christ in the flesh after his resurrection. 
Accordingly they were all especially destined to serve 
as eye-witnesses to this world of this great event, the 
hinge on which the truth of Christianity depended. 
The character of apostle is briefly described by Peter, 
who was himself the first of the apostolical col- 
lege, as one ordained to be a witness of Christ's 
resurrection, Acts i, 22 , a circumstance of which he 
often makes mention in his speeches, both to the rulers 
and to the people. See Acts ii, 32; iii, 15; v, 32, x, 
41 ; xiii, 31. And if so, the office, from its nature and 
design, could not have an existence after the extinction 
of that generation. 

" Secondly, the apostles were distinguished by prero- 
gatives which did not descend to any after them. Of 
this kind was, first, their receiving their mission imme- 
diately from the Lord Jesus Christ, not mediately through 
any human ordination or appointment of this kind, also, 
was, secondly, the power of conferring, by imposition of 


hands, the miraculous gifts of the Spirit on whomsoever 
they would ; and, thirdly, the knowledge they had, by 
inspiration, of the whole doctrine of Christ. It was for 
this reason they were commanded to wait the fulfilment 
of the promise which their Master had given them, that 
they should be baptized with the Holy Ghost. What 
pains does not Paul take to show that the above-men- 
tioned marks of an apostle belonged to him as well as 
to any of them ! That he had seen Christ after his re- 
surrection, and was consequently qualified, as an eye- 
witness, to attest that memorable event, he observes, 
1 Cor. ix, 1 ; xv, 8 , that his commission came directly 
from Jesus Christ and God the Father, without the in- 
tervention of any human creature, he acquaints us, Gal. 
i, 1 , ii, 6. To his conferring miraculous powers as the 
signs of an apostle, he alludes, 2 Cor. xii, 12 ; and that 
he received the knowledge of the gospel, not from any 
other apostle, but by immediate inspiration, Gal. i, 
11, &c. 

" Thirdly, their mission was of quite a different kind 
from that of any ordinary pastor. It was to propagate 
the gospel throughout the world, both among Jews and 
Pagans, and not to take charge of a particular flock. 
The terms of their commission are, ' Go and teach all 
nations ;' again, ' Go ye into all the world, and preach 
the gospel to every creature.' No doubt they may be 
styled bishops or overseers, but in a sense very differ- 
ent from that in which it is applied to the inspector over 
the inhabitants of a particular district. They were uni- 
versal bishops ; the whole church, or rather the whole 
earth, was their charge, and they were all colleagues 
one of another. Or, to give the same sentiment in the 

Words 01 ChrySOStom, Etcuv vko 6eov xeipoTovqdevTes airoGTokoi apxov- 
TSf, ovk edvr; Kat noTlsig dta<t>opovt; "KapBavovTzg, a?^a Travreg noivrj ttjv olkov- 

fievriv epmaTevOevrec. ' The apostles were constituted of God 
rulers, not each over a separate nation or city, but 
all were intrusted with the world in common.' If so, 


to have limited themselves to any thing less would have 
been disobedience to the express command they had 
received from their Master, to go into all nations, and to 
preach the gospel to every creature. If, in the latter 
part of the lives of any of them, they were, through ao-e 
and infirmities, confined to one place, that place would na- 
turally fall under the immediate inspection of such. And 
this, if even so much as this, is all that has given rise to 
the tradition (for there is nothing like historical evidence 
in the case) that any of them were bishops or pastors of 
particular churches. Nay, in some instances it is plain 
that the tradition has originated from this single cir- 
cumstance, that the first pastors in such a church were 
appointed by such an apostle. Hence it has arisen that 
the bishops of different churches have claimed (and 
probably with equal truth) to be the successors of the 
same apostle. 

" Fourthly, and lastly. As a full proof that the matter 
was thus universally understood, both in their own age 
and in the times immediately succeeding, no one on the 
death of an apostle was ever substituted in his room , 
and when that original sacred college was extinct, the 
title became extinct with it. The election of Matthias 
by the apostles, in the room of Judas, is no exception, 
as it was previous to their entering on their charge. 
They knew it was their Master's intention that twelve 
missionaries, from among those who had attended his 
ministry on earth, should be employed as ocular wit- 
nesses to attest his resurrection, on which the divinity 
of his religion depended. The words of Peter on this 
occasion are an ample confirmation of all that has been 
said, both in regard to the end of the office and the 
qualifications requisite in the person who fills it, at the 
same time that they afford a demonstration of the ab- 
surdity as well as arrogance of modern pretenders.— 
' Wherefore of these men which have companied with 
us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out 


among us, beginning from the baptism of John unto that 
same day that he was taken up from us, must one be 
ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.' 
But afterward, when the apostle James, the brother of 
John, was put to death by Herod, as recorded in the 
Acts of the Apostles, we find no mention made of a suc- 
cessor. Nor did the subsequent admission of Paul and 
Barnabas to the apostleship form any exception to what 
has been advanced , for they came not as successors to 
any one, but were especially called by the Holy Spirit 
as apostles, particularly to the Gentiles , and in them, 
also, were found the qualifications requisite for the tes- 
timony which, as apostles, they were to give."* 

The remark of Dr. O. that "neither were the apos- 
tles thus distinguished because they had seen our Lord 
after his resurrection, for five hundred brethren saw 
him,"f is a very singular one. Certainly, it was never 
meant that all who had thus seen him were therefore 
apostles, but that none could be apostles who had not 
thus seen him. 

Again : he says, " And though the twelve apostles 
were selected as special witnesses of the resurrection, 
yet others received that appellation who were not thus 
selected, as Timothy, Silvanus, Andronicus, Junia, 
&c.,"| received that appellation ! True , as to some at 
least of those named. But the mere " appellation" is 
not the thing we seek : and why does Dr. O. thus con- 
tinue to endeavour to press into his service a mere name, 
against the principle by which he wishes to restrict his 
opponents. The Saviour himself is styled in Scripture 
" the apostle" of our profession : and from his receiv- 
ing this " appellation," it would seem, according to 
Dr. O.'s use of this name in the argument, that, of 
course, He, and Andronicus, and Junia were of the 
same order, and held identically the same office. 

•Page 75-78. t Page 15. J Ibid. 


" Nor were the apostles [he continues] thus distin- 
guished because of their power of working miracles ; 
for Stephen and Philip, who were both deacons, are 
known to have had this power."* But the apostles had 
also the farther power of conferring the same gift on 

But why does Dr. O. separate the characteristics as- 
signed as distinctive of the apostolate 1 No one pre- 
tends that any one of the grounds he names was the 
sole ground of distinction, as his mode of arguing im- 
plies , but that there was a combination of the signs of 
an apostle, to be found in those to whom [the] appella- 
tion was appropriate in its highest distinctive sense, and 
in none else. When, therefore, he adds, "It follows, 
therefore, or will not at least be questioned, that the 
apostles were distinguished from the elders because 
they were superior to them in ministerial power and 
rights, "f — if he means, as it would seem he does, that 
that single circumstance was the whole and sole ground 
of their entire and peculiar distinction, it is not only 
" questioned," but flatly denied. If, indeed, this notion 
of Dr. O.'s be correct, and the matter was so under- 
stood by St. Paul and the Corinthian church in his 
day, is it not surprising that, instead of the course he 
took to convince them of the legitimateness of his claim 
to the apostleship, it did not occur to him to say, " Am 
not I superior to an elder, and therefore, of course, an 
apostle?" ***** 

* Page 15. flbid. 



[The remarks embraced in this Appendix appear to have been written 
separately by the author, with a view of incorporating them afterward in 
their appropriate places in the Essay. They are added here, because the 
editor desires to present the subject just as it was left by the author, imper- 
fect as it may be. — Ed.] 


The confidence with which Dr. Cooke, though so recent a convert to this 
high notion, undertakes to unchurch, as it is termed, all those denominations 
who deny the necessity or the existence, in lineal descent, of the three 
ministerial orders which he describes as essentially distinct by divine right, 
may justify a brief inquiry here into the just and Scriptural import of the 
term " church." 

The term itself, as well in the Scriptures and in the writings of the an- 
cient Christian authors as in modern use, has different significations, accord- 
ing to the subject to which it is applied. The Greek word generally ren- 
dered church in the New Testament is eKK^jjaia, and signifies either (1,) any 
civil assemblage of people, lawful or unlawful ; or, (2,) when used in 
reference to the disciples of Christ, the whole Christian community through- 
out the world ; or, (3,) the Christian community in any particular place, — 
as the church of Jerusalem, of Antioch, &c. It has been supposed also by 
some, in a few passages of Scripture, to signify the place where any Chris- 
tian society or congregation assembled, — though other able critics doubt this. 
There are other accommodated significations of the term, which need not be 
here specified. But it may not be amiss to mention that this term is never 
used in the New Testament in the singular number in reference to Christians, 
unless when either the church universal is meant, or some particular church 
in a single place. When more than one particular church is intended, but 
less than the whole, the plural form of the word is always adopted ; — as the 
churches of Galatia, of Asia, of Macedonia, &c. A national, provincial, or 
diocesan church, in the singular, as the term is now used, is an application 
of it altogether unknown in the New Testament, or in the Christian writers 
of the first two centuries, with the exception of two passages in the epistles 
attributed to Ignatius, which will be hereafter mentioned. In conformity with 
this statement, one bishop, in the most ancient usage, was uniformly con- 
sidered as having charge of only one eKKkrioia, one church, in the singular ; 
the extent of which was designated by the Greek word napoucia, in Latin 
parochia, or paroecia, which answers to the English word parish, and 
means strictly and properly a neighbourhood. His charge was never deno- 
minated in those early days Siokijchs, a diocese. This term was not used for 
this purpose till after the lapse of some centuries, when the bishop's charge 
had become so far extended as to embrace within it many churches and 


In relation to this subject, Dr. 0. has some singular criticisms on the ex- 
tent of the church of Jerusalem in the apostolic age, of which I am here 
reminded. — " In Jerusalem," he says, " there were three thousand persons 
added to the church on the first day the gospel was publicly preached, after 
the ascent of our Lord : and when Paul went there from Ephesus there was 
an innumerable company of Christians. When he went, on his arrival, to see 
James, all the presbyters being present, they said unto him, Thou seest how 
many tens of thousands of Jews there are which believe. The words in 
our translation are, thou seest how many thousands : but in the original it 
is muriades, myriads, tens of thousands:" p. 154. Afterward, p. 156, 
assuming as proved what he had before asserted, viz., that these "many 
myriads," — even " an innumerable company" of Christians, belonged at that 
early period to the church in Jerusalem alone, — he adds, " How many tens 
of thousands of believers there were in Jerusalem when Paul went there we 
cannot exactly say, but it is indisputable that there were many ; let us sup- 
pose four only." That is to say, forty thousand only, as a moderate calcu- 
lation, then statedly belonging to the church of Jerusalem alone ; for that 
this is his meaning I take to be plain from the introduction to his criticisms, 
section 394. 

But did not the doctor forget that " the multitude" from among whom the 
three thousand were converted on the day of Pentecost was composed of 
'' Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, 
and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, 
in Egypt, and in the parts of Lybia about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews 
and proselytes, Cretes, and Arabians 1" Accordingly, when Peter addressed 
them, he said, " Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, — more 
strictly (6t KaroiKovvrec) that sojourn at Jerusalem, — for a large portion of 
the hearers, as the context demonstrates, were not inhabitants of Judea itself, 
much less of the city alone. They were the strangers mentioned in verses 
9, 10, 11, who had come to the feast from the numerous and widely scattered 
countries there specified. Is it reasonable then to suppose that the entire 
number of the converts was from among the inhabitants of the city itself; 
or that all the converted sojourners continued there afterward, as permanent 
members of the church of Jerusalem'? This is to me, at least, a new idea. 

He seems to have forgotten, also, that when Paul visited Jerusalem, as 
stated in the other passage which he cites, (Acts xxi,) it was again during 
the feast of Pentecost, (as is proved by Acts xx, 10,) on whicli occasion it 
is well known that a vast concourse of Jews from all quarters, Christians as 
well as others, who were then still " all zealous of the law," (v. 29,) re- 
sorted to Jerusalem, and, consequently, that the " many myriads" here 
spoken of can by no principle of rational interpretation be confined to the 
Jewish believers who were stated inhabitants of Jerusalem alone, but must be 
understood to include those also who came to the feast from the most distant 
and various places. Indeed the passage Acts xxi, 20, seems to me in all 
fairness and propriety of construction to include not merely the Jewish believ- 
ers then present at the feast, from whatever place, but all the Christian 
believers of that class wherever scattered, who, whether present or not, 
would undoubtedly hear, through those who were present, of the conduct of 
Paul ; against whom very many of them were already greatly prejudiced. 

In proof that Dr. C. means that there were at that early period so many 
myriads of Jewish believers inhabitants of Jerusalem, who statedly attended 
Christian worship there, I need only cite in addition the minute calculation 
he makes of the size of a building that would contain " forty thousand per- 


sons" " in such a parish as Jerusalem," besides " the crowds of unbelievers 
who continually attended the preaching of the gospel," p. 156. 

This mode of managing the subject reminds me of an argument of Dr. 
C.'s in another place, viz., in that long chain by which he undertakes to esta- 
blish the episcopate of Timothy at Ephesus. One of the links is, that " only 
five days elapsed from the time of leaving Troas until the day the elders 
left Ephesus to go to Miletus, to see Paul." But how is this proved 1 Why 
simply thus : — the distances between certain places are first judged from the 
map, and it is then presumed, — in a voyage at sea, and in the state of navi- 
gation at that period, — that equal distances are sailed in equal times, and 
that for this notable reason, " the general course being the same, and there- 
fore the wind equally favourable," p. 37. Now had this been a. steamboat 
excursion, there might be some tolerable ground for the calculation, — bating 
accidents. But how " the general course being the same," in a sailboat 
voyage in the Mediterranean some eighteen hundred years ago, supports the 
positive conclusion that " therefore the wind was equally favourable" for 
four days successively, I know not. May it not possibly have fallen calm 
after three days 1 or have blown less freshly 1 or veered more unfavourably'? 
or even shifted dead a-head 1 Does not the merest fresh-water man know 
that a distance which in some circumstances may be sailed in a day, in others 
may require a week, or even a month 1 At least one would think this 
"therefore," in Dr. C.'s argument, hardly sufficient for one who "had 
always been in the habit of requiring strong evidence upon every subject, 
and never yielding assent to any thing" without it ; and certainly, rather too 
weak to constitute any part of a foundation for such a system as he labours 
to build upon it. Although, allowing such criticisms and arguments to pass, 
with what facility systems may be reared, it is not difficult to understand. 


The vexed question respecting the original form of government in the 
Christian church, though not unimportant, is certainly of no such consequence 
as heated disputants on any side, misled by party prejudices or intemperate 
zeal, would affect to make it. The declaration of St. Paul that " the king- 
dom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in 
the Holy Ghost," is applicable alike to every thing external and circumstan- 
tial ; and it may be confidently added, as the apostle continues, " for he that 
in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God and approved of men." 

But it may be said, perhaps, that this is begging the question ; for the 
ultra high-church, and Dr. C. among the most forward of that class, in bold, 
bigoted, often repeated, and extravagant assertions, contends that the form 
of polity is not a thing external or circumstantial, but of the very essence of 
a true church. And although no one has ever yet produced, or can produce, 
a single passage of Scripture which plainly teaches this doctrine, — a thing 
most marvellous indeed if the doctrine be true ; yet it is urged upon us over 
and over that Ignatius said so, a venerable bishop, father, and martyr, and 
that we ought to believe him, — especially as his testimony was confirmed 
too, as Dr. C. asserts, by both Polycarp and Irenaeus, also venerable fathers, 
thus making their testimony identical with his ; an assertion which shall be 
examined hereafter. Now, in the first place, we do not believe that Igna- 



tius ever did say so ; but that some forger of a later age, and of Dr. C.'e 
sentiments, said it for him. And in the second place, if he even did say it, 
— yet if he or an angel from heaven taught any doctrine different from or 
inconsistent with the gospel as contained in the New Testament, we would 
not believe. That Scripture and tradition combined are the source of faith, 
is the doctrine of Rome, not of Protestants. The doctrine of Protestants is, 
that the Bible alone is not only the rule, but a sufficient rule, both of faith 
and practice. Whatever cannot be proved from this, without reference to 
any other book, or to any tradition, or human authority whatever, Protest- 
ants never can consistently receive as an article of faith. And if Dr. C. 
cannot prove without going out of Scripture, that " there is no church" with- 
out the three orders of bishops, presbyters, and deacons, as essentially dis- 
tinct and essentially necessary by Divine appointment ; then his argument, 
Dr. Onderdonk being judge, is not " worth taking into account." 

Now, that no such thing can be proved from Scripture, many of the very 
ablest writers on the Episcopal side have over and over admitted. The 
celebrated Dodwell, the very champion of the highest order of high-church, 
in the case of the nonjuring bishops in the reign of William III., concedes 
that all the reasoning from which men conclude that the whole model of 
ecclesiastical discipline may be extracted from the writings of the New Tes- 
tament is quite precarious ; that there is no passage of any sacred writer 
which openly professes this design ; that there is not one which so treats of 
ecclesiastical government as if the writer or the writer's author, the Holy 
Spirit, had intended to describe any one form of polity as being to remain 
everywhere and for ever inviolate ; that the sacred penmen have nowhere 
declared with sufficient clearness how great a change must take place in 
church government, when the churches should first withdraw from the com- 
munion of the synagogues ; that they nowhere clearly enough show how 
much was allowed to the personal gifts of the Holy Ghost, and how much 
also to places and offices; that they nowhere with sufficient accuracy distin- 
guish the extraordinary officers who were [not] to outlive that age, from the 
ordinary who were not to cease till the second coming of Christ ; that all 
the things then generally known they also suppose known, and never for 
the sake of posterity explain, minding only the state wherein things were at 
the time ; that they nowhere professedly describe the ministries themselves, 
so as to explain either their nature or their extent ; which was surely indis- 
pensable if they meant to settle a model in perpetuity.* 

If all this be so, as every one who reads the Bible can see for himself, 
" What can we conclude," adds Dr. Campbell, " but that it was intended by 
the Holy Spirit thus to teach us to distinguish between what is essential to 
the Christian religion, [and to a true church,] and what is comparatively cir- 
cumstantial, regarding external order and discipline, which, as matters of 
expedience, alter with circumstances, and are therefore left to the adjust- 
ment of human prudence 1 What can better account for the difference re- 
marked by Hoornbeck, that the apostles were more solicitous about the 
virtues than the degrees of the ministers, and more strenuous in inculcating 
the manners to be observed by them as suitable to their office, and conducing 
to their usefulness, than copious in describing the form of their government ] 

* I give the entire passage as rendered by Dr. George Campbell, Lect. on Eccles. Hist., 
pp. 52, 53 ; where the original Latin of Dodwell may also be seen. And I take pleasure 
in making a general acknowledgment here, that to Dr. Campbell, one of the ablest and 
most candid critics that I have yet seen on this subject, I am much indebted in various 
parts of this treatise. 



The one is essential, the other only circumstantial ; the one invariable, the 
other not." 

If the very existence of a church, and the validity of the ministry and 
ordinances of the gospel, be essentially dependant on the doctrine maintained 
by Dr. Cooke, might we not most reasonably expect to find it so plainly re- 
vealed in Scripture that he who runs may read ? How else can the perfec- 
tion of Scripture be asserted ? that it is of itself able to make us wise unto 
salvation, — that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto 
every good work 1 And if, moreover, it be alleged to be in Scripture, yet 
so that even its advocates cannot make it out, confessedly, but by such a pre- 
carious chain of far-fetched and subtile deductions as those of Dr. Onder- 
donk; and still more, if, before the chain can possibly be completed, the pro- 
found researches of antiquaries, critics, and linguists into the contradictory, 
the doubtful, and the disputed volumes of the fathers have to be resorted to, 
does not this of itself afford a strong presumption against it 1 How, then, 
may it be said, " I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because 
thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, but hast revealed 
them unto babes ?" 

According to the doctrine of high-church, when our Lord charged his 
disciples to " beware of false prophets," he ought to have established a very 
different criterion by which to judge them. He ought to have taught us 
how to trace their spiritual pedigree ; and how to ascertain whether the pre- 
tenders be lineally descended from an apostle or an apostolical bishop, through 
an unbroken series of prelatical ordinations. Do we find any thing of this 
sort in Scripture 1 Is any such thing even intimated or hinted 1 On the 
contrary, does not our Lord establish a test entirely different 1 one of plain, 
common, and universal application ? one suited to the " poor" and ignorant, 
for whom the gospel with all its immunities and ordinances was specially 
designed, as well as for the learned. " Ye shall know them by their fruits. 
Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles 1 Even so every good 
tree bringeth forth good fruit ; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A 
good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth 
good fruit. Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them," Matt, vii, 
16, 17, 18, 20. 

I know that ultra high-churchmen, and Dr. C. among them, dispute the 
sufficiency of this test, and attempt a course of argument to disprove it. 
But then their controversy is with the Master, who expressly affirms and es- 
tablishes it. And whether we ought to believe him or them, the reader 
must judge. According to them, Alexander VI., of Rome, and other similar 
worthies, indispensable links in their chain of succession, were true ministers 
of Christ, true Christian bishops by Divine appointment, while Francis Asbury, 
Adam Clarke, Richard Watson, and the brightest luminaries, living or dead, 
in the Presbyterian, Congregational, Baptist, or Methodist churches, must 
be held as intruders into the sacred office, and no ministers of Christ. Be 
it so, by their test. But try them all by the test of Christ, and what will 
be the result ? Surely a writer must calculate largely on the ignorance or 
the superstition of his readers to talk of establishing such a theory as Dr. C.'s 
at the present day. 

When out blessed Lord, after his resurrection, and just before his ascen- 
sion, commissioned his apostles to go into all the world, &c, he added, 
" and lo ! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." This 
promise, we are often told, descends to all the true successors of the apos- 
tles in the gospel ministry, and to none else. It is granted ; and by this test 


also we are willing to be tried. The personal presence of Christ in the 
flesh, or his presence in miraculous gifts and works, I suppose is not now 
pretended by any Protestants. It remains then that the promise is to be 
understood of his spiritual presence in the personal support and comfort of 
his ministers, and in giving sanction and success to their efforts for the con- 
version and salvation of sinful men by the demonstrations of his Spirit. — 
Are the prelatical monopolizers of the covenant mercies of God, and the 
presence of Christ, willing that plain people should try their exclusive 
claims by this test ?* 

" Master," said one of the yet imperfectly instructed apostles to Jesus, 
" we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and we forbade him, because 
he followeth not us." Jesus answered, " Forbid him not, for there is no 
man who shall do a miracle in my name that can lightly speak evil of me. 
For he that is not against us is for us." That contracted spirit of exclu- 
sionism which regards the party, the cause of the sect, more than the cause 
of Christ, is not yet extinct. Let him that readeth understand. 

St. John says, " Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whe- 
ther they are of God ; because many false prophets are gone out into the 
world." But how are we to try them'? — by a learned and critical investiga- 
tion of the truth of their claim to an uninterrupted lineal descent from the 
apostles, through a long line of baptisms and ordinations of a specific cha- 
racter 1 Do the Scriptures anywhere lay down such a test, or anywhere 
intimate that such should ever be adopted 1 " To the law and to the testimony" 
then. " If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no 
light in them." This was the legitimate test under the ancient as well as 
the present dispensation. A very different one is now deemed requisite by 
some zealous patronizers of an exclusive hierarchy, Popish or Protestant. 

That any specific form of church government, or mode of authenticating 
ministers, is not essential to the being of a church, or to the validity of the 
Christian ministry and ordinances, I take to be plainly the doctrine of the 
Church of England, if her 23d article be not framed in language designedly 
ambiguous and deceptive, which ought not to be supposed. That article 
entitled, Of Ministering in the Congregation, says, " Those we ought to 
judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this work by 
men who have public authority given unto them in the congregation to call 
and send ministers into the Lord's vineyard." This, says Dr. Campbell, if 
it mean any thing, and be not a mere identical proposition, of which he owns 
it has some appearance, refers us ultimately to that authority, however mo- 
delled, which satisfies the people, and is settled among them. 

The Episcopal Reformed Church of Scotland, the predecessors of the 
high-church nonjurors in that country, in their 19th article, entitled, Of the 
Notes of the true Kirk, affirmed that " they [the notes or marks of the 

* It is related of the late venerable Dr. Pilmoor, of Philadelphia, that, after he had be- 
come a minister of the Protestant Episcopal Church, he was in a large mixed company, 
among whom were some of his old friends of the Methodist Episcopal Church, rather 
tauntingly indulging himself in sclf-gratulation on the above-cited promise of Christ's pre- 
sence with his ministers of the regular apostolical succession, of which he had now the 
happiness to be one. An old friend, who had often hoard him preach in the demonstration 
of the Spirit and of power, when he was a plain Methodist preacher, said to him : — 
" Dr. P., permit me to ask you one question, as a candid Christian man. When I heard 
you, as a Methodist preacher, preach to the multitude on the race-ground, the judges' 
stand being your pulpit, was Christ with you or not 1" The doctor paused, and then em- 
phatically answered, " Yes, if ever he has been with me, he was with me then." His old 
friend was satisfied, and so were the company. It was the candid confession of a plain, 
honest mac, — which plain, honest men knew how to appreciate. 


true church] are neither antiquity, title usurped, lineal descent, place ap- 
pointed, nor multitude of men approving an error." Again, article 23d, 
Of the right Administration of the Sacraments: — "-that sacraments be 
rightly ministrate, we judge two things requisite : the one that they be minis- 
trate by lawful ministers, whom we affirm to be only they that are ap 
pointed to the preaching of the word, they being men lawfully chosen 
thereto by some kirk, &c. We fly the doctrine of the papistical kirk in 
participation of their sacraments, — 1st, Because their ministers are no mi- 
nisters of Christ Jesus," &c. Here, continues Dr. Campbell, not only is 
lineal descent expressly excluded, but its very channel is removed, as the 
Popish clergy are declared (he thinks with too little ceremony and too uni- 
versally) to be no ministers of Christ. Nay, all that appears externally 
necessary, according to that episcopal formulary, to constitute a minister, is 
the choice of some congregation. Far from believing one particular form of 
ecclesiastical polity to be sacred and inviolable, they say, Art. 21, Of Gene- 
ral Councils, dfc, " Not that we think any policy and any order of cere- 
monies can be appointed for all ages, times, and places." 

Dr. Cooke is careful frequently to remind us that some of the ancient au- 
thors on whom he relies were martyrs. Is nothing due then to the testimony 
of the venerable martyrs of that mother church from which his own recently 
adopted communion claims birth ? What was the language of Rogers, who, 
though with a wife and ten children, whom he was not even suffered to see, 
refused a pardon at the stake from those successors of the apostles and vice- 
gerents of Christ, the then bishops of England 1 What was the language 
of Bishop Hooper, whom the popish bishops, Christ's true and supreme mi- 
nisters by Divine appointment, according to Dr. C, brought also to the stake 1 
and who was used so barbarously in the fire, that his legs and thighs were 
roasted, and one of his hands dropped oif, before he expired ; — a man not in- 
ferior to Ignatius himself in piety, or in sufferings for Christ 1 When brought 
before their prelatical judges, they were asked whether they would submit to 
the church or not. But they answered that they looked on the church of 
Rome as antichristian* Bishop Hooper, in particular, while in prison, and 
about two months before his martyrdom, wrote a letter dated December 11, 
1554, in which are these expressions : — " With us [in England] the wound 
which Antichrist [the pope or the popish church] had received is healed, 
and he [the pope] is declared head of the church, who is not a member of ii."f 
How little idea had this venerable episcopal martyr of the English church 
that his own ministerial and episcopal character depended wholly on a spi- 
ritual pedigree which could be traced in a direct line to what he believed to 
be " Antichrist !" 

It is granted that, for the sake of discipline and order in the settlement 
of churches, it is proper to limit the power of administering the sacraments 
of baptism and the Lord's supper to fewer hands than preaching. But if it 
be required to make up and pronounce from Scripture a candid judgment of 
what is valid in cases of exigence, or what is essential to the being of a 
church, then can it be doubted that even any private Christian was war- 
ranted in the apostolical age, and is still if he can, to convert a sinner from 
the error of his ways, and to teach him the principles of the Christian faith ? 
Yet were not these two important parts of the apostolical commission ? — 

* Burnet's Hist., [Abridgment,] vol. ii, p. 272. 
t Neal's Hist, of the Puritans, vol. i, p. 139. 


Would it be amiss to say that they were even the most important 1 Our 
Lord himself made proselytes and instructed them, but baptized none, — 
leaving this merely ministerial work to his disciples. Peter was sent to open 
the door of faith to Cornelius and his family ; but the charge of baptizing 
them he intrusted entirely to the Christian brethren who attended him. 
Ananias, a disciple, was employed to baptize Paul. And Paul says himself 
of his own mission, that Christ sent him not to baptize, but to preach the 
gospel ; denoting thereby that baptizing, compared with preaching, though a 
part, was but an inferior and subordinate part, of his charge.* 

In the epistles attributed to Ignatius, the phrase " the church which is in 
Syria" occurs twice. This, Dr. Campbell thinks, has much the appearance 
of an anachronism, which often betrays the hand of the interpolator. Nothing, 
he observes, can be more dissimilar to the dialect which prevailed in the 
apostolic age, and which continued to prevail in the second century. Ex- 
cept when the church denoted the whole Christian community, it meant no 
more than a single congregation. When, through the increase of converts, 
a bishop's parish, indeed, came to contain more people than could be con- 
tained in one congregation, the custom continued of still calling his charge 
a church, in the singular number. But it was not till after the distinction 
made between the metropolitan and the suffragans, which was about a cen- 
tury later, that this use originated of calling all the churches of a province 
the church (not the churches) of such a province. After the rise of the patri- 
archal jurisdiction the application of the term was extended still farther. All 
that was under the jurisdiction of the archbishop as patriarch was his 
church, "f" 

That the early fathers entertained no such ideas of the essential charac- 
teristics of a Christian church, as Dr. Cooke has asserted, out of Ignatius, is 
plain from a striking passage in Tertullian, who, in the beginning of the 
third century, explicitly asserted that " three persons, though laymen, make a 
church." His words are, " Sed ubi tres, ecclesia est, licet laid:'''' referring 
in the same place to a known practice even down to his time, viz., that 
when none of the clerical order could be had, (that is to say, in the exigence 
of necessity,) even private Christians celebrated the eucharist, and baptized, 
and served as priests to themselves. " Ubi ecclesiastici ordinis non est con- 
sessus, et offers, et tinguis, et sacerdos es tibi solus.'" 

Any person acquainted with the Latin language, and a stranger to the 
later disputes about sacerdotal orders, would hardly conceive the passage 
quoted from Tertullian susceptible of any other interpretation than that above 
given. Yet pains have been taken by persons who, as Dr. Campbell ob- 
serves, cannot conceive a kingdom of Christ that is not a kingdom of 
priests, totally to disguise it. Tertullian's argument, in the place cited, 
obviously is, that in case of necessity even laymen have the right of priest- 
hood in themselves ; and this argument he confirms by the reference above 
mentioned to the known and uncensured practice of his time. The argu- 
ment in this view was to his purpose ; in any other it was utterly futile. — 
By the way, this passage serves also to show how widely different were the 
views of Tertullian and the Christian church of that age, from those now en- 
tertained and asserted by Dr. Onderdonk, in regard to the Christian sacra- 
ments in exigences of necessity. 

* See Campbell, Eccles. Hist., pp. 62, 63. 
t Ibid., pp. 100, 101. 


That these principles are sanctioned by the earliest practice of the Chris- 
tian church in the apostolical age, may be deduced from, the testimony of 
Hilary, also a distinguished deacon of the Church of Rome, in the fourth 
century, who openly and without censure asserted that " Postquam omnibus 
locis ecclesiae sunt constitute, et officia ordinata, aliter composita res est, 
quam coeperat ; primum enim omnes docebant, et omnes baptizabant, quibus- 
cunque diebus vel temporibus fuisset occasio." " Ut ergo cresceret plebs, 
et multiplicaretur, omnibus inter initia concessum est et evangelizare, et 
baptizare, et scripturas in ecclesia explanare." Comm. on Eph. iv. [" After 
churches were established in every place, and offices ordained, things were 
managed otherwise than at the beginning : for, at first, all used to teach, 
and all to baptize, on whatever days or seasons there might be occasion." — 
" That the people might increase and be multiplied, it was at first granted to 
all to preach the gospel, and to baptize, and to explain the Scriptures in the 
church."— Ed.] 

I do not say that this is proper where there are organized churches and 
regular pastors ; but that, when there are not, in circumstances correspond- 
ing in effect to those of the primitive church at the period alluded to, the 
principle is still the same ; and that, consequently, there is nothing in the 
principles of the gospel, or the allowed practice of the apostolical age, 
making it unlawful, but, on the contrary, much to justify it. This was ma- 
nifestly the opinion of the Christians who, " except the apostles," were scat- 
tered abroad in consequence of the persecution which arose against the 
church in Jerusalem at the time of Stephen's martyrdom : for they " went 
everywhere preaching the word." The apostles, it will be observed, re- 
mained in Jerusalem. All the rest went everywhere preaching the word : 
and yet there is not the slightest intimation in the history that the apostles, 
though so recently commissioned directly by their Lord, denounced this 
course, or manifested any such spirit of exclusiveness as high-church bigots 
now exhibit. 












" Multum refer! ad retinendam ecclesiarum pacem, inter ea quae jure divino praecepta sunt, 
et quae non sunt, accurate distinguere. "—Grotius. 

" When men have caused such lamentable divisions in the church, by their several parties 
and factions, it concerns them to condemn all others besides themselves, lest they most of ail 
condemn themselves for making unnecessary divisions in the church of God." — Stillingflect. 








Preface Page 3 

Sec. I. — Episcopacy 7 

II. — Sentiments of Bishop White 22 

III. — Mr. Wesley's Opinion 28 

IV.— Ordination 29 

V — Ordination of Dr. Coke 33 

VI. — Dr. Coke's Letter to Bishop White 46 

VII.— The Prayer Book of 1784 60 

VIII.— The Prayer Book of 1786 69 

IX.— Bishop Asbury 78 

X. — Testimonies of English Methodists 95 

XL— Dr. Coke 100 

XII. — Methodist Episcopacy 105 

XIII.— Title Bishop Ill 

XIV. — Organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church 116 

XV. — Leaving Mr. Wesley's name off the Minutes . 122 

XVI. — Mr. M'Caine's Arithmetical Calculations 133 

XVII. — The Address to General Washington 13G 

XVIII. — "History and Mystery" of Mr. M'Caine's Inconsistency 145 

XIX. — Union Society of Baltimore ; — Conclusion . 147 


No. I. — Respecting Dr. Coke's Letter to Bishop White 151 

II. — A Communication from the Rev. N. Bangs 153 

III.— The Minute to c key Mr. Wesley 154 




The " fair" and " honourable" fame of " our fathers" is a treasure 
committed to our common trust ; in which all who bear their name 
ought to feel an interest ; and to defend which is our common duty. 
The best construction of which their conduct and motives are susceptible 
was due to them even while alive, with opportunities and means to 
explain, and to defend themselves. Much more is it due in instituting 
an inquiry into their history, now that they are silenced in the grave, 
and incapable of self-defence. As we would that men should do to us, 
when death shall have sealed our lips, and stricken from our hand the 
ready pen, let us do even so to them. For the measure which we 
mete to others, in the just retributive visitations of Heaven, will be 
meted to us again. We should take heed, then, how, with rash and 
wanton rudeness, we trample upon the ashes of deceased fathers. 

In the present discussion, however, we ask not for charity, in the 
cold sense of that abused term ; nor that pity shall turn the scale of 
judgment. We demand simple justice, — sheer justice. By that 
balance we agree that our fathers shall be tried. In that crucible we 
consent that both their acts and their motives shall be tested. All that 
we ask for them, in passing the ordeal, is, the allowance of the frailty 
inseparable from humanity ; and from which, with the purest and best 
intentions, the wisest and the holiest mortals have never been exempted. 

The representation which Mr. M'Caine has given of the account of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, published in Buck's Theological 
Dictionary, as it regards myself, is wholly unfounded. The editor of 
that work never was indebted to me for that account : nor was I aware 
that it had been imputed to me, till I saw Mr. M'Caine's statement. It 
had actually been published in a former edition of Buck's Dictionary, 
and attributed to another hand, before I was " Book Agent," or " Pub- 
lisher for the Methodist Episcopal Church" at all. This circumstance 
alone might have rendered the imputation of it to me at least " sus- 
picious." In some other cases Mr. M'Caine has not deemed it a suffi- 
cient warrant for the assumption of facts, that he has merely found them 
stated in print. Had he been equally suspicious in this instance, it 
might have led him to farther inquiry ; in which case the means of cor- 
rect and certain information were easily and perfectly within his 


A communication from my friend, the Rev. N. Bangs, explanatory of 
that publication, and of his book on " Methodist Episcopacy," will be 
found in the Appendix. And in justice to him, as Mr. M'Caine has 
attacked that book, it ought to be known that Mr. M'Caine himself was 
one of the committee to whom it was submitted, before its publication, 
and by whom its publication was recommended. The recommendation 
stands on record, attested by his own hand. And whatever responsi- 
bility may exist for its doctrines, or for its official acceptance and pub 
lication " for the Methodist Episcopal Church," this " reverend gentle 
man," I conceive, is as much concerned in that matter as the author 

The work here presented to the reader is not a party work. It is an 
attempt to wipe off the foul stains which have been cast on us, through 
the aspersion of our founders. If Mr. M'Caine's book be true, it is 
impossible that any Methodist, who is a real friend of the church, and 
of our fathers, can otherwise than feel himself disgraced. To such, a 
satisfactory refutation of it cannot fail to be acceptable. Whatever may 
be the claims of the respective questions of ecclesiastical polity agitated 
among us, let them stand on their own bases. To attempt to promote 
any of them by personal attacks on the dead, is an unworthy resort ; 
and, with the judicious and reflecting, can only be regarded as indi- 
cating a deficiency of better argument. 

In the little leisure allowed me by other extensive and pressing 
engagements, I might perhaps be excused for craving some indulgence 
from the reader, in replying to a work in the preparation of which 
several years were employed. This, however, I trust, is not neces- 
sary. All that is asked is a candid examination of the u-hole of the fol- 
lowing pages, in their consecutive order. This is the more necessary, 
as the various sections have a mutual connection and dependance ; — 
subsequent ones assuming what had been established in the preceding ; 
nor was it found convenient in all cases, to keep the matter of the 
respective titles entirely distinct. 

In preparing this Defence the Divine assistance has been asked : — 
In sending it abroad, the Divine blessing is now implored. 

J. Emory. 

New -York, November, 1827. 


Section I. — Episcopacy. 

Mr. M'Caine's first inquiry is, "What views do eccle 
siastical writers give us of an episcopal form of church 
government V 

In answer to this inquiry, he quotes certain authorities 
in support of the following positions, viz. : 

That " Episcopalians, in the strict sense of the word, 
are those who maintain that episcopacy is of apostolic 
institution, or that the church of Christ has ever been 
governed by three distinct orders, bishops, presbyters or 
priests, and deacons ; — that no one has a right to exe- 
cute the ministerial office without having previously 
received a divine commission , — and the exclusive right 
of granting this commission is vested in the bishops as 
successors of the apostles." 

That " it is a principle universally established among 
Episcopalians, that a succession from the apostles in the 
order of bishops, as an order superior to and distinct from 
presbyters, is a requisite without which a valid Christian 
ministry cannot be preserved ; and that such bishops 
alone possess the power of ordaining and commissioning 
ministers to feed the flock of Christ." 

That "since the distinction of bishops and presbyters 
has been of divine appointment, it necessarily follows 
that the power of ordination, which is the chief mark of 
this distinction, was reserved to the bishops by the same 

Mr. M'Caine adds, " We have here some of the most 


prominent features of an episcopal church, as laid down 
by writers of great celebrity. We would now ask our 
brethren who say Mr. Wesley recommended the episcopal 
mode of church government, if there is in any of the let- 
ters which he wrote a single line that would lead us to 
suppose that he held any one of the foregoing particu- 
lars ? Nay, did he not positively say he did not hold 
them? What kind of an episcopal government then 
must it be that has not in it a single feature of episco- 
pacy as described by ecclesiastical writers ?" 

But did not Mr. M'Caine know that there are " eccle- 
siastical writers" who describe " episcopacy" with other 
features ? If he did not, his want of information is 
greater than we could have imagined. If he did, his 
argument is not ingenuous. We can scarcely believe 
that it can have imposed on himself and it is certainly 
too glaringly fallacious to be imposed on others. 

" It ought to be understood," says Dr. Samuel Miller, 
" that among those who espouse the episcopal side, — 
there are three classes. 

" The first consists of those who believe that neither 
Christ nor his apostles laid down any particular form of 
ecclesiastical government to which the church is bound 
to adhere in all ages. That every church is free, con- 
sistently with the divine will, to frame her constitution 
agreeably to her own views, to the state of society, and 
to the exigencies of particular times. These prefer the 
episcopal government, and some of them believe that it 
was the primitive form , but they consider it as resting 
on the ground of human expediency alone, and not of 
divine appointment. This is well known to have been 
the opinion of Archbishops Cranmer, Grindal, Whitgift, 
Leighton, and Tillotson ; of Bishops Jewel, Revnolds, 
Burnet, and Croft , of Drs. Whitaker and Stillingfleet, 
and of a long list of the most learned and pious divines 
of the Church of England, from the reformation down 
to the present day. 


" Another class of Episcopalians go farther. They 
suppose that the government of the church by bishops, 
as a superior order to presbyters, was sanctioned by apos- 
tolic example, and that it is the duty of all churches to 
imitate this example. But while they consider episco- 
pacy as necessary to the perfection of the church, they 
grant that it is by no means necessary to her existence, 
and accordingly, without hesitation, acknowledge as true 
churches of Christ many in which the episcopal doctrine 
is rejected, and presbyterian principles made the basis 
of ecclesiastical government. The advocates of this 
opinion, also, have been numerous and respectable, both 
among the clerical and lay members of the Episcopal 
churches in England and the United States. In this 
list appear the venerable names of Bishop Hall, Bishop 
Downham, Bishop Bancroft, Bishop Andre vs, Arch- 
bishop Usher, Bishop Forbes, the learned Chillingworth, 
Archbishop Wake, Bishop Hoadly, and many more. 

"A third class go much beyond either of the former. 
While they grant that God has left men at liberty to 
modify every other kind of government according to cir- 
cumstances, they contend that one form of government 
for the church is unalterably fixed by divine appoint- 
ment ; that this form is episcopal ; that it is absolutely 
essential to the existence of the church ; that, of course, 
wherever it is wanting, there is no church, no regular 
ministry, no valid ordinances ; and that all who are 
united with religious societies not conforming to this 
order are ' aliens from Christ,' ' out of the appointed way 
to heaven,' and have no hope but in the ' uncovenanted 
mercies of God.' 

" It is confidently believed," continues Dr. Miller, " that 
the two former classes taken together, embrace at least 
nineteen parts out of twenty of all the Episcopalians in 
Great Britain and the United States ; while, so far as can 
be learned from the most respectable writings, and other 
authentic sources of information, it is only the small 


remaining proportion who hold the extravagant opinions 
assigned to the third and last of these classes." 

If we may rely on the researches of Dr. Miller, then, 
it is so far from being true, that " it is a principle uni- 
versally established among Episcopalians, that a succes- 
sion from the apostles in the order of bishops, as an order 
superior to and distinct from presbyters, is a requisite 
without which a valid Christian ministry cannot be pre- 
served ; and that such bishops alone possess the power 
of ordaining: and commissioning ministers to feed the 
flock of Christ ;" that at least mneteen-t?ventieths of all 
the Episcopalians in Great Britain and in the United 
States hold no such sentiments.* Neither, as we shall 
show, were they the sentiments of Dr. Coke, or of Mr. 
Asbury, any more than of Mr. Wesley nor do we be- 
lieve that they are entertained by a single individual 
among Methodist Episcopalians, either in the ministry 
or in the laity. 

The Irenicum of Dr. Stillingfieet, subsequently Bishop 
Stillingfieet, will be admitted to rank among the produc- 
tions of "ecclesiastical writers" of distinguished ''cele- 
brity " From this work we shall exhibit a view of epis- 
copacy somewhat different from that of Mr. M'Caine.f 

"I assert," says Dr. Stillingfieet, " any particular form 
of government agreed on by the governors of the church, 
consonant to the general rules of Scripture, to be by 
divine right , that is, God, by his own laws, hath given 
men a power and liberty to determine the particular 

*Gisborne also asserts that they arc not the sentiments of the Church of 
England. — Survey, p. 254. 

fThe object of Stillingfieet, in this work, was to discuss and examine the 
divine right of the different forms of church government, according to the 
principles of the law of nature, the positive laws of God, the practice of the 
apostles and the primitive church, and the judgment of reformed divines ; 
in order to lay a foundation for the peace of the church, and for the accommo- 
dation of the differences which then existed. His aim was to moderate the 
exttavagant pretensions of high churchmen, on the one side, and the intem- 
perate zeal of those, on the other, who were for destroying episcopacy 
altogether. With what ability, and excellent temper, and moderation, he 
performed this task will appear in the sequel. 


form of church government among them. And hence it 
may appear, that though one form of government be 
agreeable to the word, it doth not follow that another is 
not, or because one is lawful, another is unlawful ; but 
one form may be more agreeable to some parts, places, 
people, and times, than others are. In which case, that 
form of government is to be settled which is most agree- 
able to the present state of a place, and is most advan- 
tageously conducible to the promoting the ends of church 
government in that place or nation." Irenicum, pp. 9, 10, 
2d edit. Lond. 1662. 

" Matters of fact and mere apostolical practice, may, I 
freely grant, receive much light from the records of suc- 
ceeding ages ; but they can never give a man's under- 
standing sufficient ground to infer any divine law, arising 
from those facts attested to by the practice or records of 
succeeding ages." Ibid., p. 151. 

In relation to arguments drawn from the testimony of 
antiquity, before their authority can be admitted in this 
controversy, Dr. Stillingfleet affirms, " these things must 
be manifested . — that such things were unquestionably the 
'practice of those ages and persons ; that their practice was 
the same as that of the apostles ; that what they did was 
not from any prudential motives, but by virtue of a law 
which did bind them to that practice. Which things are 
easily passed over by the most eager disputers of the 
controversy about church government, but how necessary 
they are to be proved, before any form of government 
be asserted so necessary, that without it there can be no 
true church, any weak understanding may discern." lb. 
p. 152. 

" The reason of apostolical practice binds still, 
though not the individual action; that as they regulated 
churches for the best conveniency of governing them, 
so should the pastors of churches now." lb., p. 181. 

" Anyone particular form of government in the church 
is neither expressed in any direct terms by Christ, nor can 


be deduced by just consequence ; therefore no such 
form of government is instituted by Christ." lb., p. 182. 

" But though nothing can be inferred from hence as 
to the necessity of that office to continue in the church, 
which Timothy and Titus were invested in ; yet from 
the superiority of that power which they enjoyed over 
those churches, whether as evangelists or as fixed 
bishops, these two things may be inferred : First, That 
the superiority of some church officers over others is not 
contrary to the rule of the gospel ■ for all parties ac- 
knowledge the superiority of their power above the pres- 
byters of the several cities , only the continuance of this 
power is disputed by many. But if they had any such 
power at all, it is enough for my present design, viz., 
that such a superiority is not contrary to the gospel rule : 
or that the nature of the government of the church doth 
not imply a necessary equality among the governors of 
it. Secondly, Hence I infer that it is not repugnant to 
the constitutions of churches in apostolical times for 
men to have power over more than one particular con- 
gregation. For such a power Timothy and Titus had , 
which, had it been contrary to the nature of the regiment 
of churches, we should never have read of in the first- 
planted churches. So that if those popular arguments of 
a necessary relation between a pastor and a particular 
people, of personal knowledge, care, and inspection, did 
destroy the lawfulness of extending that care or charge 
to many particular congregations, they would likewise 
overthrow the nature, end, and design of the office which 
Timothy and Titus acted in ; which had a relation to a 
multitude of particular and congregational churches. 
Whether their power was extraordinary or no, I now 
dispute not ; but whether such a power be repugnant to 
the gospel or no, which from their practice it is evident 
that it is not." lb., pp. 186, 187. 

The foundation of this power was laid in the power 
which the apostles were invested with, which was ex- 


tended over many, both churches and pastors. " If it be 
said, The apostolical power, being extraordinary, must 
cease with the persons who enjoyed it; I ans wer, first, What 
was extraordinary did cease ; but all the dispute is what 
was extraordinary, and what was not. Secondly, By 
ceasing may be meant either ceasing as to its necessity, 
or ceasing as to its lawfulness. I say not but that the 
necessity of the office, as in their persons, for the first 
preaching and propagating the gospel, did cease with 
them ; but that after their death it became unlawful for 
any particular persons to take the care and charge of 
diocesan churches, I deny. For to make a thing unlaw- 
ful, which was before lawful, there must be some express 
prohibition, forbidding any farther use of such a power, 
which, I suppose, men will not easily produce in the 
word of God." lb., pp. 194, 5. 

" The extending of any ministerial power is not the 
appointing of any new office; because every minister of 
the gospel hath a relation in actu primo" (primarily) "to 
the whole church of God ; the restraint and enlargement 
of which power is subject to positive determinations of 
prudence and conveniency, — and therefore if the church 
see it fit for some men to have this power enlarged, for 
better government in some, and restrained in others, that 
enlargement is the appointing no new office, but the 
making use of a power already enjoyed for the benefit 
of the church of God. This being a foundation tending 
so fully to clear the lawfulness of that government in 
the church, which implies a superiority and subordination 
of the officers of the church to one another ; and the 
church using her prudence in ordering the bounds of her 
officers, I shall do these two things : First, Show that 
the power of every minister of the gospel doth primarily 
and habitually respect the church in common. Secondly, 
That the church may, in a peculiar manner, single out 
some of its officers for the due administration of eccle- 
siastical power." lb., p. 195. 


" The officers of the church may, in a peculiar man- 
ner, attribute a larger and more extensive power to 
some particular persons, for the more convenient exer- 
cise of their common power — grant to some the executive 
part of that power, which is originally and fundamentally 
common to them all. For our better understanding of 
this, we must consider a twofold power belonging to 
church officers, a power of order, and a power of jurisdic- 
tion." lb. p., 197 

Under this distinction he shows, that though every 
presbyter, primarily and inherently, as to order possesses 
a capacity for the highest ministerial acts, yet " some 
farther authority is necessary in a church constituted" (or 
organized) " besides the power of order , and when this 
power, either by consent of the pastors of the church, or 
by the appointment of a Christian magistrate, or both, is 
devolved to some particular persons, though quoad ap- 
tiludinem" (as to the capacity or fitness) " the power 
remain in every presbyter, yet quoad executionem, (as to 
the actual discharge or execution of it,) " it belongs to 
those who are so appointed. And therefore Camero 
determines that ordination doth not belong to the power 
of order, but to the power of jurisdiction, and therefore 
is subject to positive restraints, by prudential determina- 
tions. By this we may understand how lawful the 
exercise of an episcopal power may be in the church of 
God, supposing an equality in all church officers as to 
the power of order And how incongruously they speak, 
who, supposing an equality in the presbyters of church- 
es at first, do cry out that the church takes upon her 
the office of Christ, if she delegates any to a more pecu- 
liar exercise of the power of jurisdiction." lb., pp. 197,8. 

" Before the jurisdiction of presbyters was restrained 
by mutual consent, in this instant, doubtless, the presby- 
ters enjoyed the same liberty that the presbyters among 
the Jews did, of ordaining other presbyters, by that 
power they were invested in at their own ordina 


tion. In the first primitive church, the presbyters all 

acted in common for the welfare of the church, and 
either did or might ordain others to the same authority 
with themselves , because the intrinsical power of order 
is equally in them, and in those who were after appoint- 
ed governors over presbyteries. And the collation of 
orders doth come from the power of order, and not mere- 
ly from the power of jurisdiction. It being likewise 
fully acknowledged by the schoolmen, that bishops are 
not superior above presbyters, as to the power of order." 
lb., p. 273. 

" It is evident Jerome attributes the first original of 
that exsors potestas," [delegated power, or power given 
by choice,] " as he calls it elsewhere, in the bishop 
above presbyters, not to any apostolical institution, but 
to the free choice of the presbyters themselves : which doth 
fully explain what he means by consuetudo ecclesice 
before spoken of, viz., that which came up by a volun- 
tary act of the governors of churches themselves. 

To which we may add what Eutychius the patriarch of 
Alexandria saith, in his Origines Ecclesice Alexandrines, 
published in Arabic by our most learned Selden, who 
expressly affirms, that the twelve presbyters constituted 
by Mark upon the vacancy of the see, did choose out of 
their number one to be head over the rest, and the other 
eleven did lay their- hands upon him, and blessed him, and 
made him patriarch." lb., p. 274. 

" Antonius de Rosellis fully expresseth my meaning 
in this;" — (in the first period of the church.) "Every 
presbyter and presbyters did ordain indifferently, and thence 
arose schisms : thence the liberty was restrained and 
reserved peculiarly to some persons who did act in the 
several presbyteries, as the awn or Prince of the Sanhe- 

drin, both parties granting that in the church such a 

restraint was laid upon the liberty of ordaining presby- 
ters : and the exercise of that power may be restrained 
still, granting it to be radically and intrinsically in them. 


So that this controversy is not such as should divide the 
church. For those that are for ordinations only by a 
superior order in the church, acknowledging a radical 
power for ordination in presbyters, which may be 
exercised in case of necessity, do thereby make it evi- 
dent, that none who grant that, do think that any positive 
law of God hath forbidden presbyters the power of 
ordination ; for then it must be wholly unlawful, and so 
in case of necessity it cannot be valid. Which doctrine 
I dare with some confidence assert to be a stranger to 
our Church of England, — on the other side, those who 
hold ordinations by presbyters lawful, do not therefore 
hold them necessary, but it being a matter of liberty, and 
not of necessity — this power then may be restrained by 
those who have the care of the church's peace, and mat- 
ters of liberty being restrained, ought to be submitted 
to, in order to the church's peace." lb., p. 276. 

" In the matter itself, I believe upon the strictest 
inquiry Medina's judgment will prove true, that Jerome, 
Austin, Ambrose, Sedulius, Primasius, Chrysostom, 
Theodoret, Theophylact, were all of Aerius's judgment 
as to the identity of both name and order of bishops 
and presbyters in the primitive church ; but here lay 
the difference. Aerius from hence proceeded to sepa- 
ration from bishops and their churches, because they were 
bishops. And Blondell well observes, that the main 
ground why Aerius was condemned was for unnecessary 
separation from the church of Sebastia , and those 

bishops, too, who agreed with him in other things, 

whereas Jerome was so far from thinking it necessary 
to cause a schism in the church, by separating from 
bishops, that his opinion is clear, that the first institution 
of them was for preventing schisms ; and therefore, for 
peace and unity, he thought their institution very use- 
ful in the church of God." lb., pp. 276-7 

" When the apostles were taken out of the way, who 
kept the main power in their own hands of ruling their 


several presbyteries, or delegated some to do it, (who 
had a main hand in planting churches with the apostles, 
and thence are called in Scripture, sometimes fellow- 
labourers in the Lord, and sometimes evangelists, and 
by Theodoret apostles, but of a second order,) after, I 
say, these were deceased, and the main power left in 
the presbyteries, the several presbyters enjoying an 
equal power among themselves, — the wiser and graver 
sort considered the abuses following the promiscuous 
use of this power of ordination, and withal having in 
their minds the excellent frame of the government of 
the church, under the apostles and their deputies, and for 
preventing of future schisms and divisions among them- 
selves, they unanimously agreed to choose one out of their 
number who was best qualified for the management of 
so great a trust, and to devolve the exercise of the power 
of ordination and jurisdiction to him ; yet so as that 
he act nothing of importance without the consent and 
concurrence of the presbyters, who were still to be 
as the common council to the bishop. This I take 
to be the true and just account of the original of epis- 
copacy in the primitive church according to Jerome : 
which model of government, thus contrived and framed, 
sets forth to us a most livery character of that great 
wisdom and moderation which then ruled the heads and 
hearts of the primitive Christians, and which, when men 
have studied and searched all other ways, (the abuses 
incident to this government through the corruptions of 
men and times being retrenched,) will be found the most 
agreeable to the primitive form, both as asserting the due 
interest of the presbyteries, and allowing the due honour 
of episcopacy, and by the great harmony of both, carrying 
on the affairs of the church with the greatest unity, con- 
cord, and peace. Which form of government, I cannot 
see how any possible reason can be produced by either 
party why they may not with cheerfulness embrace it." 
lb., 281-2. 



" Thus we have once more cleared Jerome and the 
trath together ; I only wish that all that are of his judg- 
ment for the practice of the primitive church, were of his 
temper for the practice of their own , and while they own 
not episcopacy as necessary by a divine right, yet (being 
duly moderated, and joined with presbyteries) they may 
embrace it, as not only a lawful, but very useful consti- 
tution in the church of God. By which we may see 
what an excellent temper may be found out, most fully 
consonant to the primitive church for the management 
of ordinations and church power, viz., by the presi- 
PRESBYTERY." lb;, p. 283. 

" All that I have to say then, concerning the course 
taken by the apostles, in settling the government of the 
churches, — lies in these three propositions, — viz., That 
neither can we have that certainty of apostolical practise, 
which is necessary to constitute a divine right ; nor, second- 
ly, is it probable that the apostles did tie themselves up to 
any one fixed course in modelling churches; nor, thirdly, 
if they did, doth it necessarily follow that we must observe 
the same." lb., p. 287 

"In this place, lib. 4, cap. 43, he" (Irenseus) "not 
only asserts the succession of presbyters to the apostles, 
but likewise attributes the successio episcopatus" (the 
succession of the episcopate) " to these very presbyters." 
"Whence comes then the community of names still, that 
those who are said to succeed the apostles, are called 
bishops in one place, but presbyters in another; and 
the very succession of episcopacy attributed to 
presbyters V lb., p. 307 

"And great probability there is, that where churches 
were planted by presbyters, as the Church of France by 
Andochius and Inignus, that afterward, upon the 
increase of churches and presbyters to rule them, they 
did from among themselves choose one to be as the 
bishop over them, as Pothinus was at Lyons. For we 



nowhere read in those early plantations of churches, that 
where there were presbyters already, they sent to other 
churches to desire episcopal ordination from them." lb., 
p. 375. 

"It is a known instance, that in the ordination of 
Pelagius, first bishop of Rome, there were only two 
bishops concerned and one presbyter , whereas, accord- 
ing to the fourth canon of the Nicene council, three 
bishops are absolutely required for the ordination of a 
bishop : either, then, Pelagius was no canonical bishop, 
and so the point of succession thereby fails in the 
church of Rome : or else a presbyter hath the same 
intrinsical power of ordination which a bishop hath," 
[even in ordaining a bishop,] " but it is only restrained 
by ecclesiastical laws. 7 ' lb., p. 380. 

" I believe there will, upon the most impartial survey, 
scarce be one church of the reformation brought which 
doth embrace any form of government, because it looked 
upon that form as only necessary by an unalterable 
standing law, but every one took up that form of govern- 
ment which was judged most suitable to the state and 
condition of their several churches." lb., p. 384. 

" I doubt not but to make it evident, that the main 
ground for settling episcopal government in this nation," 
(England,) " was not accounted any pretence of divine 
right, but the conveniency of that form of church govern- 
ment to the state and condition of the church at the time 
of its reformation" lb., p. 385. 

" The first who solemnly appeared in vindication of 
the English hierarchy was Archbishop Whitgift : yet he 
asserts that no hind of government is expressed in the 
word, or can necessarily be concluded from thence : and 
again, no form of church government is by the Scripture 
prescribed to, or commanded the church of God." lb., p. 394. 

" That great light of the German church, Chemnitius, 
asserts the churches' freedom and liberty as to the orders 
and degrees of those who superintend the affairs of the 


church ; which he builds on a three-fold foundation — 
1. That the word of God nowhere commands what or 
how many degrees and orders of ministers there shall 
be. 2. That in the apostles' times there was not the 
like number in all churches, as is evident from Paul's 
epistles. 3. That in the apostles' times, in some places, 
one person did manage the several offices belonging to a 
church. Which three propositions are the very basis 
of all our foregoing discourse. — The sum is, it appears 
by the practice of the apostolical church, that the state, 
condition, and necessity of every particular church ought 
to be the standard and measure what offices and degrees 
of persons ought to be in it." lb., pp. 397, 398. 

Zanchy, an eminent Presbyterian divine, " asserts it 
to be in the church's power and liberty to add several 
orders of ministers, according as it judgeth them tend 
to edification , and saith he is far from condemning the 
course of the primitive church, in erecting one as bishop 
over the presbyters, for better managing church affairs." 
lb., p. 399. 

Fregevil, a divine of the French church, (whom the 
English bishop Hall calls " wise Fregevil, a deep head,") 
in his " Politic Reformer," says, " When the apostles 
first planted churches, the same being small and in 
affliction, there were not as yet any other bishops, priests, 
or deacons but themselves they were the bishops and 
deacons, and together served the tables. These men, 
therefore, whom God raiseth up to plant a church, can 
do no better than, after the exan'iple of the apostles, to 
bear themselves in equal authority " lb., p. 400. 

Beza, another eminent Presbyterian divine, says, 
" He was so far from thinking that the human order of 
episcopacy was brought into the church through rash- 
ness or ambition, that none can deny it to have been 
very useful as long as bishops were good. And those 
that both will and can, let them enjoy it still. — And 
elsewhere professeth all reverence, esteem, and honour 


to be due to all such modern bishops, who strive to imi- 
tate the example of the primitive bishops, in a due 
reformation of the church of God according to the rule 
of the word. And looks o a it as a most false and impu- 
dent calumny of some that said as though they" [of 
Geneva] " intended to prescribe their form of govern- 
ment to all other churches ; as though they were like 
some ignorant fellows who think nothing good but what 
they do themselves." lb., p. 406. 

To invalidate the authority of Stillingfleet's Ireni- 
cum, it has been objected by some extravagant assert- 
ers of the apostolical succession of episcopacy, that it 
was an indigested work, written when the author was 
young, and was subsequently retracted. How far this 
representation is correct, the following facts will show. 
— After being several years engaged in the composition 
of that work, the author published it in 1659, at the 
age of twenty-four. Three years afterward, in 1662, 
he published a second edition ; and the same year he 
gave to the world his Origines Sacra?. Soon after these 
publications he met his diocesan, the celebrated Bishop 
Saunderson, at a visitation. The bishop, seeing so 
young a man, could hardly believe it was Stillingfleet, 
whom he had hitherto known only by his writings , and, 
after having embraced him, said, He much rather ex- 
pected to have seen one as considerable for his age, as 
he had already shown himself for his learning. See 
the Life of Bishop Stillingfleet, pp. 12-16, as quoted 
by Dr. Miller. — " When a divine of acknowledged 
talents and learning," adds Dr. Miller, " after spending 
several years in a composition of moderate length, 
deliberately commits it to the press ; when, after reflect- 
ing on the subject, and hearing the remarks of his 
friends for three years longer, he publishes it a second 
time ; and when, after this second publication, he is 
complimented for his great erudition by one of the most 
able and learned dignitaries of the age, there seems 


little room for a charge of haste or want of digestion.' 
Letters, pp. 270, 271, n. 

" The truth seems to be," continues Dr. Miller, " that 
Dr. Stillingfleet, finding that the opinions of a number of 
influential men in the church were different from those 
which he had advanced in this work ; and finding also 
that a fixed adherence to them might be adverse to the 
interest of the established church, in which he sought 
preferment, he made a kind of vague and feeble recan 
tation ; and wrote in favour of the apostolical origin of 
episcopacy It is remarkable, however, that this pre- 
late, in answer to an accusation of inconsistency between 
his early and his latter writings on this subject, assigned 
another reason besides a change of opinion, viz., that, 
the former were written ' before the laws were established.'' 
But in whatever degree his opinion may have been 
altered, his reasonings and authorities have undergone 
no change. They remain in all their force, and have 
never been refuted, either by himself or by others." 
lb., p. 271. 

Dr. White, now Bishop White of Pennsylvania, was 
of opinion that that learned prelate. Stillingfleet, was 
most probably not dissatisfied with that part of the 
Irenicum which would have been to his (Dr. White's) 
purpose ; and which of course, as we shall presently 
show, is to our purpose. Burnet, the contemporary 
and friend of Stillingfleet, says, (History of his Own 
Times, anno J 661,) "To avoid the imputation that book 
brought on him, he went into the humours of a high 
sort of people beyond what became him, perhaps be- 
yond his own sense of things." " The book, however," 
Bishop White adds, "was, it seems, easier retracted than 
refuted : for though offensive to many of both parties, it 
was managed, says the same author, [Burnet.] with so 
much learning and skill, that none of either side ever un- 
dertook to answer it." See " The Case of the Episcopal 
Churches in the United States Considered," page 22. 


" Luther, and the leading divines of his denomination, 
supposed that a system" [of church government] " em- 
bracing some degree of imparity" [among ministers] 
" was in general expedient , and, accordingly, in pro- 
ceeding to organize their churches, appointed superin- 
tendents, who enjoyed a kind of pre-eminence, and were 
vested with peculiar powers. But they explicitly ac- 
knowledged this office to be a human, and not a divine 
institution." Miller's Letters, p. 237 

The Lutheran churches in Sweden and Denmark are 
episcopal. See Mosheim, vol. iv, p. 279. Yet all eccle- 
siastical historians agree that when the Reformation 
was introduced into Sweden, the first ministers who 
undertook to ordain were only presbyters. Miller's 
Letters, p. 240. 

"It is equally certain that in the ordination of a 
bishop, if the other bishops happen to be absent, the more 
grave and aged of the ordinary pastors supply their 
place, and are considered as fully invested with the 
ordaining power" lb., p. 241. 

In case of necessity, the same power is recognised 
by the Methodist Episcopal Church, as fully invested 
in her body of presbyters. Yet, if by death, expulsion, 
or otherwise, there should at any time be no bishop 
remaining among us, even in this case the remaining 
presbyters would not themselves directly ordain new 
presbyters, but would first set apart another general 
superintendent, or superintendents, as their constituted 
organ for this purpose. 

Section II. — Sentiments of Bishop White. 

In the year 1783 a pamphlet was published in Phila 
delphia entitled, " The Case of the Episcopal Churches 
in the United States Considered." This work has 
always been considered as the production of Dr. White, 


now Bishop White, of Pennsylvania. Dr. Miller, in his 
Letters, published in 1807, p. 270, attributes it to him 
by name ; and we have not understood that its authen- 
ticity has ever been denied. A new edition of it has 
recently been published in Philadelphia, by William 
Stavely, publisher of the Philadelphia Recorder, a 
paper edited by a distinguished clergyman of the Pro- 
testant Episcopal Church. 

It will be seen from this work with what ability 
Dr. White argued the case of the Episcopal churches in 
the United States at that period, and how -equally 
strikingly his arguments were adapted to the state of 
the Methodist societies at the same period. 

In a " Sketch of a Frame of Government" offered by 
Dr. White, he says, " In each smaller district there 
should be elected a general vestry or convention, con- 
sisting of a convenient, number, (the minister to be one.) 
— They should elect a clergyman their permanent presi- 
dent ; who, in conjunction with other clergymen to be 
also appointed by the body, may exercise such powers 
as are purely spiritual, particularly that of admitting to 
the ministry," p. 11. 

Again; "The conduct meant to be recommended, — 
is to include in the proposed frame of government a 
general approbation of episcopacy and a declaration of an 
intention to procure the succession as soon as conve- 
niently may be , but in the meantime to carry the plan 
into effect without waiting for the succession' 1 lb., p. 15. 
" But it will be also said," continues Dr. White, " that 
the very name of 'bishop' is offensive : if so, change it 
for another , let the superior clergyman be a president, a 
superintendent, or in plain English, and according to the 
literal translation of the original, an overseer However, 
if names are to be reprobated, because the powers 
annexed to them are abused, there are few appropriated 
to either civil or ecclesiastical distinctions which would 
retain their places in our catalogue." lb., p. 17. 


"The other part of the proposal" of Dr. White, 
" was an immediate execution of the plan without waiting 
for the episcopal succession. This is founded on the pre- 
sumption that the worship of God and the instruction 
and reformation of the people, are the principal objects 
of ecclesiastical discipline — ." lb. 

" It will be said, we ought to continue as we are, 
with the hope of obtaining it" [the succession] "here- 
after. But," continues Dr. White, " are the acknow- 
ledged ordinances of Christ's holy religion to be sus- 
pended for years, perhaps as long as the present 
generation shall continue, out of delicacy to a disputed 
point, and that relating only to externals ? — All the obli- 
gations of conformity to the divine ordinances, all the 
arguments which prove the connection between public 
worship and the morals of a people, combine to urge 
the adopting of some speedy measures, to provide for 
the public ministry in these churches. If such as have 
been above recommended," [viz., ordination by the 
president clergyman, in conjunction with other clergy- 
men appointed by the body,] " should be adopted, and 
the episcopal succession afterward obtained, any sup- 
posed imperfections of the intermediate ordinations might, 
if it were judged proper, be supplied, without acknow- 
ledging their nullity by a conditional ordination resem- 
bling that of conditional baptism in the liturgy" lb. 

But if the " succession" had never been " afterward 
obtained," there can be little doubt that Dr. White 
would have maintained the validity of the ordinations 
on his plan, without the succession. For, as he very 
justly argues in another place, " If even those who hold 
episcopacy to be of divine right, conceive the obligation 
to it to be not binding when that idea would be destruc- 
tive of public worship, much more must they think so, 
who indeed venerate and prefer that form as the most 
ancient and eligible, but without any idea of divine right 
in the case. This the author believes to be the senti 


ment of the great body of Episcopalians in America ; 
in which respect they have in their favour unquestion- 
ably the sense of the Church of England, and, as he 
believes, the opinions of her most distinguished prelates 
for piety, virtue, and abilities." lb. p. 25. 

To make any particular form of church government, 
though adopted by the apostles, unalterably binding, 
Dr. White maintains, " it must be shown enjoined in 
positive precept." lb. He remarks farther, "that Dr. 
Calamy having considered it as the sense of the church," 
[of England,] " in the preface to the ordinal, that the 
three orders were of divine appointment, and urged it 
as a reason for non-conformity ; the bishop [Hoadly] 
with evident propriety, remarks, that the service pro- 
nounces no such thing , and that therefore Dr. Calamy 
created a difficulty where the church had made none ; 
there being ' some difference,' says he, ' between these 
two sentences — bishops, priests, and deacons, are three 
distinct orders in the church by divine appointment, — 
and — -from the apostles' time there have been in Christ's 
church, bishops, priests, and deacons." — " The same 
distinction," says Dr. White, " is accurately drawn and 
fully proved by Stillingfieet in the Irenicum." lb., p. 22, 
and note. 

" Now," continues Dr. White, ''if the form of church 
government rest on no other foundation than ancient 
and apostolical practice, it is humbly submitted to con- 
sideration, whether Episcopalians will not be thought 
scarcely deserving the name of Christians, should tliev, 
rather than consent to a temporary deviation, abandon 
every ordinance of positive and divine appointment/* lb. 

The reader will please to observe, that, at the period 
when the Methodist Episcopal Church was organized, 
if we had not acted independently of the alleged apos- 
tolical succession, we must necessarily, for a long time 
at all events, have abandoned ordinances of positive and 
divine appointment. Mr. Wesley, also, as it had been 


proposed to desire the English bishops to ordain part 
of our preachers for America, expressly states: 1. "I 
desired the bishop of London to ordain one only, but 
could not prevail. 2. If they consented, we know the 
slowness of their proceeding ; but the matter admits of 
no delay." Dr. White was of the same opinion in rela- 
tion to the Episcopal churches , and was in favour of 
carrying his plan of ordination, "without waiting for 
the episcopal succession," into immediate "execution." 

" Bishop Hoadly says, The acceptance of reordination 
by the dissenting ministers, would not be a denial of that 
right, which (as they conceived) presbyters had to ordain." 
lb., p. 23. 

The learned Hooker also admits, that, in " the exigence 
of necessity" or " the necessity of the present" episcopal 
ordination, in the line of succession, is not indispen- 
sable." Ecclesiastical Polity, booh 7, sec. 14. 

" Had Mr. Hooker," says Dr. White, (p. 26,) " been 
asked to define ' the exigence of necessity ',' could he have 
imagined any more urgent than the case in question ?" 
— the case of the Episcopal churches in this country at 
that time. — " Or had he been inquired of concerning 
the ' necessities of present times,'' could he have men- 
tioned any in the cases to which he alludes (those of 
Scotland and Geneva) so strongly pleading for the 
liberty he allows, as those now existing in America ?" — 
at the period of writing and publishing that pamphlet. 
The reader has only to change the name, and the just 
and solid argumentation of Dr. White is as exactly 
applicable to the case of the Methodist societies in 
America, at that period, as to " the case of the Episcopal 

" What necessity was there," continues Dr. White, 
" of the ' reformed churches abroad' equal to ours ? Is 
not an immediate imitation of the ancient usage ' imprac- 
ticable?' Would not such a plan as has been proposed," 
(viz., ordination by a clergyman chosen as a permanent 


president, in conjunction with others appointed by the 
body,) ' : be conforming, as far as circumstances allow, 
to our ideas of 'the apostolic model V lb., p. 27 After 
quoting Archbishops Usher and Cranmer, with the 
highest eulogies, in support of this plan, Dr. White thus 
concludes the argument : — 

" On the credit of the preceding names, the author 
rests this the last part of his subject ; and if his senti- 
ments should meet with an unfavourable reception, he 
will find no small consolation from being in a company 
so respectable." lb., p. 29. — So say we ; especially 
since we have now added the name of Dr. White. 
More than forty years have elapsed since the publica- 
tion of that pamphlet, yet we are not aware that it has 
ever been retracted. If it had been, we presume that 
some notice would have been given of it in the new 
edition just published, in the lifetime of the bishop, and 
at the place of his own residence. And, in any case, 
we might well say of this production, as Dr. White 
so appositely remarked of Stillingfieet's Irenicum, — it 
would be " easier retracted than refuted." 

Section III. — Mr Wesley's Opinion. 

" As to my own judgment," says Mr. Wesley, " I still 
believe the episcopal form of church government to be 
scriptural and apostolical : I mean, well agreeing with 
the practice and writings of the apostles. But that it is 
prescribed in Scripture, I do not believe. This opinion, 
which I once zealously espoused, I have been heartily 
ashamed of, ever since I read Bishop Stillingfieet's 
Irenicum. I think he has unanswerably proved, that 
neither Christ nor his apostles prescribe any particular 
form of church government ; and that the plea of divine 
right for diocesan episcopacy was never heard of in 


the primitive church." Wesley's Works, London edit., 
1813, vol. xvi, p. 26. 

So far as the judgment of Mr. Wesley is concerned 
then, it is, on the one hand, decidedly in favour of " the 
episcopal form of church government;" and, on the 
other, as decidedly against the high church pretensions. 

The above extract will also serve to show the opinion 
which that great master of logic entertained of Stilling- 
fleet's Irenicum. 

Section IV — Ordination. 

With the preceding principles and authorities before 
us, it only remains to consider the origin and force of 
ordination, and we shall then be prepared to enter into 
an examination of the original organization of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church. 

" Their custom of ordination," says Dr. Stillingfleet, 
" was evidently taken up by the Christians from a cor- 
respondency to the synagogue. — That under the syna- 
gogue was done by laying on of hands. — A twofold use 
I find of this symbolical rite, beside the solemn desig- 
nation of the person on whom the hands are laid. The 
first is to denote the delivery of the person or thing 
thus laid harids upon, for the right, use, and peculiar 
service of God. The second end of the laying on of 
hands was, the solemn invocation of the Divine pre- 
sence and assistance to be upon and with the person 
upon whom the hands were thus laid. — Thence, in 
all solemn prayers, wherein any person was particu- 
larly designed, they made use of this custom of impo- 
sition of hands. From which custom Augustine speaks, 
Quid aliud est manuum impositio nisi oratio super homi- 
nem ?" [what is imposition of hands but prayer over a 
man?] "Thence when Jacob prayed over Joseph's 


children, he laid his hands upon them ; so when Moses 
prayed over Joshua. The practice likewise our Saviour 
used in blessing children, healing the sick, and the 
apostles in conferring the gifts of the Holy Ghost , and 
from thence it was conveyed into the practice of the 
primitive church, who used it in any more .solemn invo- 
cation of the name of God in behalf of any particular 
persons. But the most solemn and peculiar use of this 
imposition of hands among the Jews, was in the design- 
ing of any persons for any public employment among 
them. Not as though the bare imposition of hands did 
confer any power upon the person — but with that cere- 
mony they joined those words whereby they did confer 
that authority upon them- — This custom being so gene- 
rally in use among the Jews, in the time when the 
apostles were sent forth with authority for gathering 
and settling the churches, we fmd them accordingly 
making use of this, according to the former practice, 
either in any more solemn invocation of the presence of 
God upon any persons, or designation and appointing them 
for any peculiar service or function. For we have no 
ground to think that the apostles had any peculiar com- 
mand for laying on their hands upon persons in prayer 
over them, or ordination of them. But the thing itself 
being enjoined them, viz., the setting apart some persons 
for the peculiar work of attendance upon the necessities 
of the churches by them planted, they ?ook up and 
made use of a laudable rite and custom, then in use 
upon such occasions. And so we fmd the apostles 
using it in the solemn designation of some persons to 
the office of deacons ; — afterward upon an occasion not 
heard of in the synagogue, — for the conferring the gifts 
of the Holy Ghost. But although the occasion was 
extraordinary, yet the use of that rite in it was very 
suitable, inasmuch as those gifts did so much answer 
to the nyjv" (Shehinah) "and the trrpn niV [the Holy 
Spirit] " which the Jews conceived did rest upon those 


who were so ordained by imposition of hands. The 
next time we meet with this rite was upon a peculiar 
designation to a particular service of persons already 
appointed by God for the work of the ministry which is 
of Paul and Barnabas by the prophets and teachers at 
Antioch ; whereby God doth set forth the use of that 
rite of ordination to the Christian churches." Iren. 
pp. 264-271. 

" Ordination is the solemn setting apart of a person to 
some public church office." Westminster Assembly of 
Divines ; examined and approved by the General Assem- 
bly of the Church of Scotland. — Neal, vol. v. p. 357 ; 

Mr. M'Caine has taken pains to show that the vali- 
dity of Presbyterian ordination was established by 
Mr. Wesley, and is the principle of the ordination of the 
British Conference. But who ever denied this ? Is it 
not expressly and fully declared in our Book of Disci- 
pline, in answer to the following question : — " If by 
death, expulsion, or otherwise, there be no bishop 
remaining in our church, what shall we do?" 

The answer is ; — " The General Conference shall 
elect a bishop ; and the elders, or any three of them, who 
shall be appointed by the General Conference for that 
purpose, shall ordain him, according to our form of ordi- 
nation." Chap, i, 4, quest. 2. And this answer 
shows both the good sense of those who framed it, and 
their acquaintance with ancient ecclesiastical usage. 
For, as Stillingfleet, above quoted, says, " Great proba- 
bility there is that where churches were planted by 
presbyters," (as the Methodist Episcopal Church was,) 
" upon the increase of churches and presbyters, they 
did, from among themselves, choose one to be as the 
bishop over them. — For we nowhere read in those early 
plantations of churches, that where there were presbyters 
already, they sent to other churches to desire episcopal 
ordination from them." — It is also in exact accordance 


with the practice of the church of Alexandria, which 
would not suffer the interference of foreign churches in 
consecrating their bishops, and of which the patriarch 
Eutychius, as quoted by Stillingfleet, " expressly affirms 
that the twelve presbyters constituted by Mark, upon 
the vacancy of the see, did choose out of their number 
one to be head over the rest, and the other eleven did 
lay their hands upon him and blessed him, and made 
him patriarch." 

When Mr. M'Caine asserts, that " neither are the 
ordinations which he" (Mr. Wesley) " conferred, viewed 
by writers among the English Methodists — as favouring 
our title of episcopacy," he stops short of the phrase- 
ology used by the very writers whom he quotes. Their 
language is, " He" [Mr. Wesley] " gave up episcopal 
ordination as understood by high churchmen." So do we. 
And so does our Discipline, clearly and unequivocally. 

Section V — Ordination of Dr. Coke. 

Having thus cleared our way, we shall now take up 
the ordination of Dr. Coke. 

" If," says Mr. M'Caine, " Mr. Wesley ordained Dr. 
Coke a bishop, in the common acceptation of that term, 
then did he create a church officer greater than himself, 
and of consequence he brought himself into subjection 
to Dr. Coke, by making the doctor his superior." Again, 
"If the doctor was constituted a bishop," ["in the com- 
mon acceptation of that term" is here dropped,] " he was 
raised to a rank above a presbyter, and invested with 
superior powers. In that case he that was sent was 
greater than he that sent him" — and " then Mr. Wesley, 
who was only a presbyter, and consequently inferior to 
a bishop, assumed the prerogative to send his superior 
to do a work, in his name, which he himself could not 


go to do." — And again : " If the doctor, by the imposi- 
tion of Mr. Wesley's hands, is created a bishop, then 
the objection of the bishop of Norwich lies in full force 
— ' If a presbyter can ordain a bishop, then the greater 
is blessed of the less,' " &c. 

We have already seen what Mr. M'Caine represents 
to be " the common acceptation" of the term bishops, 
(which, by the way, we have shown is not the common 
acceptation,) viz., an order of ministers distinct from 
presbyters by divine appointment, to whom the power 
of ordination is reserved by the same appointment, and is 
the chief mark of their distinction - — and in whom, as 
successors of the apostles, is vested the exclusive right 
of granting the divine commission to execute the minis- 
terial office. — See History and Mystery, pp. 9, 10.* — 
Now r if Mr. Wesley ordained Dr. Coke in no such 
sense ; — if he pretended to no such thing ; — if neither 
our bishops nor the Methodist Episcopal Church have 
ever pretended to any such thing, — what then ? Why 
then it follows that all the smart sayings on this trans- 
action, which have been repeated and copied from my 
lord bishop of Norwich down to Mr. M'Caine, are 
wholly wide of the mark, and are shaken both from Mr. 
Wesley and from us, as " the lion shakes to air the 
mists shed on his mane." — They may serve to mislead 
the ignorant, and such as may be captivated by sound 
more than by sense. But as to the argument they are 
perfectly nugatory. — If, say Dr. Whitehead and Mr. 
Moore, Mr. Wesley's position be true, that bishops and 
presbyters are the same order, the bishop of Norwich 
should have first overthrown this position, if he could, 
to have established his own. 

But says Mr. M'Caine, " as Mr. Wesley and Dr. Coke 

* One of Mr. M'Caine's authorities is Archbishop Potter, who was the 
champion of the High-church party ; while Dr. Hoaiily, bishop of Win- 
chester, with great judgment and eloquence, advocated principles of greater 



were of the same order, — the doctor had as good a cleri- 
cal right to ordain Mr. Wesley a bishop, as Mr. Wesley 
had to ordain the doctor." — As good a clerical right ; — 
Mr. M'Caine seems to have felt here that his argument 
was lame. He knows well that the true question is 
not as to the mere clerical power of ordination, abstractly; 
but whether in the circumstances then existing, as to 
acknowledged jurisdiction, and the exigency of the 
times, Dr. Coke had as good a right to ordain and send 
Mr. Wesley to superintend the American Methodists, 
as Mr. Wesley had to summon a council and to ordain 
and send him '? And whether it was so regarded by the 
Methodists of that day, either in Europe or in America ? 
The Methodist societies in America, although under 
the spiritual direction of the Rev. John Wesley and his 
assistants, whom, under God, they regarded as their 
father and founder, yet previously to the revolutionary 
war were religious societies within the Church of Eng- 
land, without any provision among themselves for the 
administration of the ordinances. From that church 
they were separated, let it be carefully observed, not by 
any schism, or factum, or any species of misconduct on 
their part , but by the acts of Providence, and by cir- 
cumstances wholly beyond their control. The Church 
of England had ceased to exist in America, and the 1 
Methodists here were absolutely compelled either to 
provide for themselves, or to live in neglect of the posi- 
tive ordinances of Christ. Their case was clearly that 
of '' the exigence of necessity," agreeably to Hooker 
himself; and most undeniably so agreeably to the prin- 
ciples then advocated by Dr. White. Our societies had 
suffered long, as sheep without shepherds. They had 
endured the privation of the ordinances till the patience 
of many had been exhausted, and a serious disunion 
was threatened , if not dissolution. A portion of the 
preachers and societies in the south had resolved on 
measures for the administration of the ordinances among 



themselves. This step was strenuously resisted by the 
conference which met at Baltimore in 1780. That 
conference unanimously disapproved of the measures 
adopted by their brethren in Virginia, and resolved that 
they would not regard them as Methodists in connexion 
with Mr. Wesley, till they came back , and Francis 
Asbury, Freeborn Garrettson, and William Watters 
were appointed a committee to attend the Virginia con- 
ference, and inform them of these proceedings, and 
receive their answer. On that occasion Mr. Asbury 
exerted his utmost influence to effect a reunion, and, in 
conjunction with his colleagues, happily succeeded. 
The proposal by which it was accomplished, after much 
discussion and distress, originated with him. (See Mr. 
Snethen's Reply to J. O 'Kelly, p. 8, and Lee's History, 
p. 73.)* It was, that they should consent to bear their 
privations yet longer , — to write to Mr. Wesley, and lay 
their situation before him, and take his advice. This 
proposal was agreed to , a division was prevented ; a 
happy union was restored ; and the preachers departed 
with thankful hearts, to persuade the people to unite 
with them in longer forbearance. 

Yet it was not till several years after this ; — not till 
the Church of England in America was confessedly 
extinct by the acknowledgment of our independence, 
and all hope of supplies from that quarter in any reason- 
able time, if ever, had utterly failed, that Mr. Wesley 
resolved on the adoption of the measures which, from 
his relation to the Methodists (under the true Head of 
the church,) and their urgent solicitations, he had long 
before believed himself fully authorized to adopt , but 
which, for peace' sake, he had many years forborne. On 

* Mr. Watters says this proposal was made ." by one of their own party." 
This apparent discrepancy is explained by Mr. Snethen in his " Answer to 
J. O'Kelly's Vindication." Mr. Asbury originally made the proposal to 
John Dickens, to whom Mr. Watters alludes. John Dickens reduced it to 
writing, and proposed it to the conference. 


the same principle, for peace 1 sake, he had desired the 
bishop of London to ordain only one preacher for Ame- 
rica, but could not prevail. Driven to this extremity, with 
all his societies and preachers in America, he summoned 
a council of grave and pious presbyters. These Mere, 
in conjunction with him, our body of presbyters, and with 
their advice he acted. The venerable Fletcher was one 
of the council, though not present at the subsequent 
ordinations. Mr. Wesley's scruples were now ended, 
and he resolved, with the aid of other presbyters, to 
exercise that authority to which he believed himself 
called by the providence of God, and by the " necessities 
of the times." — Now if the episcopacy of the Church of 
England, (and consequently of the Protestant Episco- 
pal Church in this country,) rest on no other foundation 
than ancient and apostolic practice, we humbly submit, 
(in language similar to that of Bishop White on another 
occasion,) whether Methodists would scarcely have been 
deserving the name of Christians, if, rather than con- 
sent to a temporary (or even to a permanent) deviation 
from that line of episcopacy, they had abandoned every 
ordinance of positive and divine appointment. 

Bishop White states, as quoted by Mr. M'Caine, that 
a union of the Methodists in this country with the Pro- 
testant Episcopal Church, was proposed by Dr. Coke 
in 1791, the terms of which, on the doctor's part, as 
stated by Bishop White, all will admit were sufficiently 
humble. Why did that proposal fail ? It is stated, on 
the same authority, that it failed in consequence of the 
proceedings of the convention of the Protestant Epis- 
copal Church, before whom the subject was laid in 179--3. 
The Rev Dr. Wyatt of Baltimore published, in 1S-20, a 
similar statement, If this statement be correct, then 
the responsibility for the rendering of our deviation 
from that line of episcopacy permanent, rests on them. 
The proposed union by which our " temporary devia- 
tion" might have been cured, according to Dr. White's 


plan of conditional ordinations, on the principle of con- 
ditional baptisms, was rejected by them. Is it then for 
them now to reproach us with this deviation, which had 
been adopted, clearly, in the " exigence of necessity," 
and which they, as much as in them laid, thus contri- 
buted to render permanent 1 This would be both cruel 
and unchristian. It is not, we think, in the power of 
the acutest disputant to impugn the ground on which 
we stand without equally impugning that assumed by 
Dr. White in " The Case of the Episcopal Churches 
Considered •" nor to refute this without refuting that. 
We shall have occasion to revert again to the state- 
ment respecting Dr. Coke's proposal to Bishop White, 
and shall only add here, that, from what we have said, 
it must plainly appear that the organization of the Me- 
thodist Episcopal Church affords no colour of pretext 
or of countenance to any leaders or authors of schism, 
faction, disorganization, or disunion. The proceedings 
of " our fathers" partook of no such character. Nor 
can the precedent of their example be pleaded by the 
instigators or abetters of any such disorders. 

The following is a copy of the letters testimonial de- 
livered by Mr. Wesley to Dr. Coke, after his ordination, 
agreeably to the advice of Mr. Fletcher. It was taken 
by Mr. Drew from the original, in Mr. Wesley's own 
hand-writing, preserved among the papers of Dr. 

" To all to whom these presents shall come, John 
Wesley, late fellow of Lincoln College in Oxford, 
presbyter of the Church of England, sendeth greeting. 

" Whereas many of the people in the southern pro- 
vinces of North America, who desire to continue under 
my care, and still adhere to the doctrine and discipline 
of the Church of England, are greatly distressed for 
want of ministers to administer the sacraments of bap- 
tism and the Lord's supper, according to the usage of 


the same church and whereas there does not appear to 
be any other way of supplying them with ministers — 

" Know all men, that I, John Wesley, think myself 
to be providentially called at this time to set apart some 
persons for the work of the ministry in America. And 
therefore, under the protection of Almighty God, and 
with a single eye to his glory, I have this day set apart 
as a superintendent, by the imposition of my hands and 
prayer, (being assisted by other ordained ministers,) 
Thomas Coke, doctor of civil law, a presbyter of the 
Church of England, and a man whom I judge to be 
well qualified for that great work. And I do hereby 
recommend him to all whom it may concern, as a fit 
person to preside over the flock of Christ. In testimony 
whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal, this 
second day of September, in the year of our Lord one 
thousand seven hundred and eighty-four. 

"John Wesley." 

This document leads us to remark; 1. Mr. M'Caine 
says, (p. 21,) it is not a letter "of ordination," but of 
" appointment." — Why ? Because " the term ' ordina 
tion' is not found in it." And is the term " appointment" 
found in it ? If it be good logic that because the term 
" ordination" is not found in it, therefore it is not a letter 
of ordination ; surely it is equally so that because the 
term " appointment" is not found in it, therefore it is not 
a letter of appointment. According to this logic, it may 
be questioned whether Mr. M'Caine himself has ever 
been either ordained or appointed an elder ; for we sus- 
pect that neither the term ordained nor appointed will 
be found in his credentials. On Mr. M'Caine's prin- 
ciples of verbality, this document should be called a 
letter of "set apart!" for these are the words used by 
Mr. Wesley This is a specimen of Mr. M'Caine's 
logic in the management of documents. A similar one 
will be found when we come to the term bishop. 


2. If this were not an ordination, we should be glad 
to be informed what constitutes one. It was performed 
as ordinations usually are ; with the usual solemnities ; 
— by " imposition of hands and prayer ;" with the 
assistance of " other ordained ministers ;" and " under 
the protection of Almighty God." If it was not intended 
as an ordination, it was certainly a very solemn mock- 
ery , — a trifling with sacred things, to charge Mr. Wesley 
with which would be loading his memory with " obloquy" 

3. With what office did Mr. Wesley, by these solem- 
nities, and by this instrument, intend to invest Dr. Coke 1 
Not with the episcopal office, says Mr. M'Caine. Why ? 
— Because the term " episcopal " was not used. Let us 
take the w T ords then that were used. Dr. Coke, who 
was already a presbyter, was " set apart" by Mr. Wesley, 
assisted by other presbyters, " as a superintendent" — " to 
preside over the flock of Christ,'" or, as he expressed it in 
his letter " to Dr. Coke, Mr. Asbury," &c, dated a few 
days subsequently, " over our brethren in North America" 
— to superintend, and preside over, the whole body of 
the Methodist preachers on this continent, with hun- 
dreds, if not thousands of congregations, and tens of 
thousands of members : — to ordain other ministers, and 
to exercise all the powers usually considered episcopal. 
Indeed, the allegation has usually been that the powers 
with which our superintendents were confessedly in- 
vested from the commencement, — and with Mr Wesley's 
sanction, were too great even for an episcopacy- And 
will Mr. M'Caine, then, yet contend, that Mr. Wesley 
did not intend that the office of our general superintend- 
ents in America should be an episcopal office in fact, 
though under the title of superintendents 1 Will he so 
far jeopard his reputation both for understanding and 
for candour ? To waste time on such a question would 
really seem to us to be trifling both with ourselves and 
with our readers. 


4. Mr. Wesley says that those who desired his ad- 
vice and help " adhered to the doctrine and discipline 
of the Church of England," and were " greatly dis- 
tressed for want of ministers to administer the sacra- 
ments — according to the usage of the same church" 
Were not the " discipline" and the " usage" of that 
church episcopal? And does not Mr. Wesley, in this 
instrument, plainly declare his intention to follow that 
discipline and usage, so far as he could, without en- 
tangling us again with the English hierarchy ? 

Mr. M'Caine, indeed, would make out that Mr. Wes- 
ley's intention was that we should continue connected 
with the Church of England. But the contrary is plain. 
The wide difference between the case of the Methodist 
societies in England and those in this country, in con- 
sequence of the revolutionary war, Mr. Wesley himself 
clearly defines. " The case," he says, " is widely differ- 
ent between England and North America. Our Ame- 
rican brethren are now totally disentangled — from the 
English hierarchy — we dare not entangle them again. 
They are now at full liberty, simply to follow the Scrip- 
tures and the primitive church. And we judge it best 
that they should standfast in that liberty.'''' 

5. Mr. Wesley, in this document, assigns as one of 
the grounds of his proceeding, precisely that basis of 
" the exigence of necessity," in which both the propriety 
and the duty of a similar proceeding on the part of 
" the Episcopal churches," even at an earlier period, 
had been so ably advocated by Dr. White. "' And 
whereas," he says, "there does not appear to be any 
other way of supplying them with ministers." — He had, 
for peace' sake, previously applied to the bishop of 
London to ordain one only, but could not prevail. And 
if the English bishops would even have consented, he 
knew the slowness of their proceedings ; and the matter 
admitted of no delay.* 

* In 1783, and we think earlier, Er. White maintained that this "exi- 
gence of necessity" then existed in " the Episcopal churches." Yet they 


6. If the "fuller powers," which Mr. Wesley desired 
Dr. Coke to meet him in Bristol to receive, were not 
episcopal in fact, what were they I Dr. Coke was already 
a presbyter , and as to the mere " appointing" of super- 
intendents, in a lower sense, to take charge of societies 
as Mr. Wesley's assistants, it would have been a perfect 
novelty in Methodism to have used such ceremonies 
barely for that purpose. Mr. Rankin and Mr. Asbury 
had both been superintendents in America, in this sense, 
as Mr. Wesley's assistants, without any such ceremo- 
nies. And, as a conclusive argument against such a 
view of this transaction, we add, — if Mr. Wesley, by 
setting apart Dr. Coke, and investing him with " fuller 
powers," meant barely to " appoint" him a superintend- 
ent, as his assistant, in the sense in which he had ordi- 
narily used this term, then it would have been utterly 
inconsistent with his known principle to have associ- 
ated Mr. Creighton, Mr. Whatcoat, and Mr. Vasey, 
with him, in making the appointment. 

7 If Mr. Wesley's preferring the title " superintend- 
ent," proves that Dr. Coke, under that title, was not 
intended by Mr. AVesley to be a bishop in fact, it equally 
follows that his preferring the title " elder" proves that 

did not succeed in obtaining ordination from the English bishops till 1787; 
and even then not until it was authorized by an act of parliament. Dr. Sea- 
bury had previously succeeded in obtaining ordination from the nonjuring 
bishops of Scotland, though he could not from the English bishops. But 
even this was not till after the ordination of Dr. Coke as a general super- 
intendent. When some young gentlemen went to England, after the revo- 
lution, to obtain episcopal ordination, the archbishop of Canterbury was of 
opinion that no English bishop could ordain them unless they took the oath 
of allegiance. Mr. Southey says they then applied for advice and assist- 
ance to Dr. Franklin, who was then our minister in France. He consulted 
a French clergyman, and found that they could not be ordained in France, 
unless they vowed obedience to the archbishop of Paris ; and the pope's 
nuncio, whom he consulted also, informed him that the Romish bishop in 
America could not lay hands on them unless they turned Catholics. Frank- 
lin therefore advised them, either that the Episcopalian clergy in America 
should become Presbyterians, or that they should elect a bishop for them- 
selves. So true it was, as Mr. Wesley said, he knew the slowness and the 
entanglingness of their proceedings ; and such was Franklin's advice in the 


he did not intend Mr. Whatcoat and Mr. Vasey to be 
priests, or presbyters, in fact. The argument is as 
good in the one case as in the other. The forms of 
ordination prepared for us by Mr. Wesley, for setting 
apart our superintendents and elders, as we shall here- 
after show, were merely an abridgment of the forms of 
the Church of England for setting apart bishops and 
priests. And as he substituted the term superintendent 
for bishop, so he also substituted the term elder for 
priest ; — clearly intending substantially the same eccle- 
siastical officers in each case, but not the same titles. 

8. That in such an " exigence of necessity" as then 
existed, and at the organization of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church it was admissible for a body of presby- 
ters to constitute a bishop in fact, in our acceptation of 
the term, with the title of superintendent, president, 
inspector, or overseer, as they judged best, we have 
already supported by abundant evidence. 

9. When Lord King lays it down as the primitive 
usage that there was " but one supreme bishop in a 
place," he uses the term expressly in relation to " the 
proper pastor or minister of a parish, having care of 
the souls of that church or parish ;" though in some 
cases there were other ministers subordinately connected 
with him, and assisting him. In this sense we admit 
that there ought to be but one bishop, or minister having 
the pastoral charge, in one place. And this is our usage. 
But that in the apostles' time there were individuals 
travelling extensively as superintendents, bishops, in- 
spectors, or overseers, in a larger sphere, and setting in 
order the things that were wanting in multitudes of 
churches, is undeniable. Whether such churcli officers 
were extraordinary, or no, as Stillingfleet says, we now 
dispute not : but whether they be repugnant to the gos- 
pel or no , — which, from their practice, as he adds, it 
is evident that they are not. That what was extraor- 
dinary in the apostolic oversight, and in that of Timoth 


and Titus, did cease with them, may be admitted. But 
the question remains, what was extraordinary, and what 
was not ? For surely not every practice and usage of 
the apostles was intended to cease with them. For then 
the office of preaching itself must cease, for this was 
their main office. Besides, by ceasing, may be meant, 
either ceasing as to its necessity, or as to its lawfulness. 
And to make a thing unlawful, which was before lawful, 
there ought to be some express prohibition of it which, 
in this case, we suppose, with Stillingneet, men will not 
easily produce in the word of God. And admitting the 
lawfulness of our practice in this respect, the expediency 
and utility of it must be judged by those whose concern 
it is. That such an itinerant and extensive oversight as 
was practised by the apostles, and by Timothy and 
Titus, fell greatly into disuse very shortly after their 
decease, is true. But surely it cannot be conclusively 
inferred from this that it is unlawful to revive a similar 
superintendency in churches which may desire it, and 
believe it to be both practicable and useful. Such an 
episcopacy, as Mr. Wesley says of " the episcopal form 
of church government," we believe to be both Scriptural 
and apostolical. We mean, as he adds, " well agreeing 
both with the practice and with the writings of the 

That " plain John Wesley, the fountain of our epis- 
copal authority," should be " improved into father 
Wesley" is made by Mr. M'Caine, p. 53, a matter of 
ridicule. But when he wrote this, he probably forgot 
that, when it suited his purpose, he had himself used 
the same language. " Mr. Wesley," he says, p. 23, 
" considered himself, under God, the father of all the 
Methodists in Europe and America." And again, p. 43, 
when he wished to represent it as odious in our fathers 
not to have implicitly obeyed the wish of Mr. Wesley 
on a particular occasion, then he is careful himself to 


improve " plain John Wesley," into " the father of the 
Methodist people." 

This relation, however, Mr. Wesley did himself ex- 
pressly claim, and the claim was recognised by the 
whole body of Methodists, both in Europe and in Ame- 
rica. " You," said he to Mr. Asbury, " are the elder 
brother of the American Methodists. I am, under God, 
the father of the whole family Therefore I naturally 
care for you all in a manner no other person can do. 
Therefore I, in a measure, provide for you all." And 
in the secondary sense of Theodoret, Fregevil, and Stil- 
lingfleet, we do not hesitate to denominate him the 
apostle of the whole Methodist people, obnoxious as 
that term is to Mr. M'Caine , and even to assert, that he 
did mfact claim and exercise episcopal authority among 
them ; and that both he and they believed that in all 
this he acted in the order of Divine providence. 

Mr. Wesley did himself assert that he believed him- 
self to be "a Scriptural emoKonoc, episcopos, as much 
as any man in England or in Europe." Moore's Life of 
Wesley, vol. ii, p. 280. And he asserted this with 
direct reference to his " acting as a bishop," in reply to 
the remarks of his brother Charles. If by epixcopos 
he did not mean to aver himself a bishop in fact, and 
entitled to " act as a bishop," in our acceptation of the 
term, then his reply did not meet his brother's objection, 
but Mas a mere evasion ; and one too shallow, though 
mantled in Greek, to deceive, or to satisfy, so good a 
scholar as his brother Charles. That he meant that he 
was an episcopos, merely in the sense of beinq- the 
proper pastor of a particular congregation or parish, 
cannot be : for such he was not. Yet, although he did 
believe himself entitled to exercise episcopal authority 
among the Methodists ; as much so as any bishop of 
the Church of England — in the Church of England, it 
should be carefully noted that for peace' sake, he re- 
frained from the exercise of it with respect to ordina- 


tion, till imperiously urged to it by the " exigence of 
necessity ;" and until, if he had refused longer, he must 
have permitted his numerous societies in America, who 
were loudly calling on him for advice and help, to live 
in the neglect of imperative ordinances of Christ's posi- 
tive institution. In any reference to the precedent of 
Mr. Wesley's example, then, we shall do him great in- 
justice, if we are not careful always to combine all 
these various views, relations, and circumstances. In 
relation to the general church, or to the Church of 
England, Dr. Coke and Mr. Wesley, as presbyters, were 
undoubtedly equal in order. Yet that their acknow- 
ledged jurisdiction, in relation to the Methodist societies, 
was vastly different in Dr. Coke's own view, and that 
he knew it to be so regarded by the Methodist people, 
is manifest from the following extract of a letter which 
he addressed to Mr. Wesley previously to his coming to 

" Honoured and Dear Sir, 

" The more maturely I consider the subject, the more 
expedient it appears to me that the power of ordaining 
others" [having reference to the ordination to be esta- 
blished for the Methodists in America] " should be 
received by me from you, by the imposition of your 
hands ; . an. authority formally received from 

you will (I am conscious of it) be fully admitted by the 
people , and my exercising the office of ordination with- 
out that formal authority may be disputed, if there be 
any opposition on any other account. I could therefore 
earnestly wish you would exercise that power in this 
instance, which I have not the shadow of a doubt, 
but God hath invested you with, for the good of our 
connection." Moore's Life of Wesley, vol. ii, p. 276.* 

* Yet, in the face of this broad declaration, Mr. M'Caine repeatedly 
endeavours to make out that Dr. Coke ivas doubtful of the validity of his 
own ordination. 


Section VI. — Dr Coke's Letter to Bishop White. 

In a letter to Bishop White of Pennsylvania, dated 24th 
April, 1791, Dr. Coke says, Mr. Wesley "did indeed 
solemnly invest me, as far as he had a right so to do, 
with episcopal authority." On this phrase, " as far as 
he had a right so to do," Mr. M'Caine declaims with 
great self-gratulation. And connecting with it what he 
calls Dr. Coke's " proposals to Bishop White, to have 
the preachers in the Methodist Episcopal Church reor- 
dained by Bishop White, and himself and the gentle- 
man connected with him, consecrated for the episcopal 
office," he exults in these figments, as if he had con- 
victed Dr. Coke out of his own mouth, that he did doubt 
the validity of his own ordination, and consequently his 
right to ordain others ; although Dr. Coke constantly 
affirmed that he did not doubt it, nor had a shadow of 
a doubt of it ; and was in the constant practice of ordain- 
ing others. 

Mr. M'Caine has been careful to collect into his pam- 
phlet the stale objections of the enemies not only of our 
episcopacy, but of our whole ministry and order — and, 
if we are to be governed by his authorities, his own 
ordination as an elder is not one whit moir valid than 
the episcopal ordination of our bishops. If the reader 
will turn to p. 10 of "History and Mystery," &c, he 
will find a passage, which we have already quoted, 
commencing thus : " It is a principle universally es- 
tablished among Episcopalians," &c. Mr. M'Caine 
marks that passage as a quotation, yet gives no author- 
ity for it , although in every other instance under that 
head he names his authority. Why did he not name it 
in this ? Was it not because he was himself ashamed 
of it? Because it was taken from an avowed and 
personal enemy of our whole order; who denied the 


validity of every gospel ordinance as administered by 
us ; and who, with all the effrontery of Rome, asserts 
in the very next paragraph to that which Mr. M'Caine 
cites, that "no true church can exist without a true 
episcopacy, and that no episcopacy can be a true one 
but that which is derived from the holy apostles in the 
order of bishops as superior to, and distinct from, the 
order of presbyters'?" The author of that pamphlet, 
after having separated himself from the Methodist 
Church, exerted what skill he had to prove us guilty of 
schism, and destitute of every valid gospel ordinance. 
From that pamphlet, if we may judge from their cor- 
respondence, Mr. M'Caine has drawn his materials on 
the subject of this section , but has not had the candour 
to inform his readers that there has ever been any refu- 
tation of that author's aspersions. 

The laboured declamation of Mr. M'Caine on this sub- 
ject, as, indeed, a large portion of his book, is founded 
on an entire misconception or misrepresentation of 
Methodist episcopacy. Mr. Wesley invested Dr. Coke 
with " episcopal authority"' in relation to the Methodists 
in America. In relation to other churches, Dr. Coke 
had no " episcopal authority ;" nor did Mr. Wesley claim 
a right to give him any. In this respect his language 
was considerate and precise. Neither have the bishops 
of other churches any " episcopal authority" in relation 
to us, nor could they confer such authority among us on 
any individual without our act. 

Had Dr. Coke, for the sake of union with the Pro- 
testant Episcopal Church, consented to submit to a 
second episcopal ordination, or " consecration," it would 
by no means have proved that he therefore acknow- 
ledged, or even doubted, the validity of his prior ordi- 
nation. It is well known that some Methodist pres- 
byters, who have joined other churches, have submitted 
to a second ordination, not for their own satisfaction, but 
for the satisfaction of others, and because it was required 


of them in order to the union. The case would have 
been analogous, had Dr. Coke submitted to a second 
episcopal ordination, for the sake of union with the 
Protestant Episcopal Church. With his views at that 
time of the probable effects of such a union, he might 
not have considered it wrong, in such circumstances, to 
submit to a reordination. That such were the prin- 
ciples by which he was actuated, we have his own posi- 
tive declarations. An authenticated copy of a letter 
which he addressed to Bishop Asbury on the subject is 
now before us, dated, " Near Leeds, Feb. 2, 1808." In 
this letter he states that he had heard that there had 
been a paper war concerning a letter which he wrote, 
in the year 1791, to Bishop White. He acknowledges 
that when he wrote that letter he did then believe that 
the union which he proposed would have a good effect. 
And particularly that "it would 'ery much enlarge our 
field of action, and that myriads would, in consequence 
of it, attend our ministry, who Avere then much 'preju- 
diced against us." He adds, however, that he had no 
idea of " deciding" on any thing , — that sucli an idea, 
without the concurrence of Bishop Asbury and of the 
General Conference, would have been absurd, and that 
what he did was intended to ascertain the sense of the 
Protestant Episcopal Church, preparatory to the Gene- 
ral Conference ; but at the same time he expressly 
declares, " I never applied to the convention for recon- 
secration. I never intended that either you or I should 
give up our episcopal ordination. My proposals secured 
our discipline in all points." And afterward adds, "But 
I now see that the failure of my plan, which was laid 
down from the purest motives, was for the best." The 
Rev. Ezekiel Cooper has in his possession an original 
letter from Dr. Coke to himself, of the same import. 

Bishop White states that one of the outlines of Dr. 
Coke's plan, as to " the Methodist ministers," was " their 
continuing under the superintendence then existing, and on 


the practices of their peculiar institutions." This coin- 
cides with Dr. Coke's statement. Bishop White adds, 
" There was also suggested by him a propriety, but not 
a condition made, of admitting to the episcopacy him- 
self and the gentleman associated with him in the super- 
intendence of the Methodist societies." This sugges- 
tion, so far as we can discover, is not to be found in 
Dr. Coke's letter. It is true, Bishop White says in an- 
other place, as quoted by Mr. M'Caine in a note, " Or it 
may have been the consecration of himself," [Dr. Coke,] 
" and the gentleman connected with him, for this mea- 
sure was hinted in a conversation that afterward took 
place between us." The very terms of this note show 
doubt on the face of it. And as we shall presently de- 
monstrate that Bishop White mistook the import of Dr. 
Coke's letter, it must be admitted to be possible that he 
might at least equally have misapprehended a hint in 
conversation. But why does Mr. M'Caine commence 
his quotation from Bishop White's letter of Sept., 1806, 
in this broken manner, " Or it may have been," &c. ? 
What went before " OrV and why was it not quoted? 
If we examine the preceding part of that paragraph in 
Bishop White's letter, the reason is obvious. It did not 
suit Mr. M'Caine's purpose. Bishop White was conjec- 
turing by what means Dr. Coke had probably contem- 
plated the removal • of a difficulty on the part of some 
of the preachers in rising up to ordination, if it were left 
dependent on the then bishops of the Protestant Epis- 
copal Church. That difficulty respected those preachers 
who were not acquainted with the learned languages. 
" What was his intended mean of removal of this diffi- 
culty," says Bishop White, " does not appear in the 
letter. It may have been a promise, on the part of the 
bishops, that the ordination of the persons in question 
should not be prevented by that circumstance. Or it 
may have been," &c, as quoted by Mr. M'Caine. The 
whole passage, taken together, shows that it was conjee 


tural. \* such we leave it. The propensity of the 
human mind to conjecture what is most accordant with 
its own habits of thinking, or what is best calculated to 
support its own views, is too well known to require dis- 
cussion here. 

But even admitting that Bishop White may have been 
correct in his impression, that Dr. Coke did hint in 
conversation the propriety of admitting to the episco- 
pacy himself and the gentleman associated with him, in 
case of union with the Protestant Episcopal Church, it 
may be easily accounted for on Bishop White's own 
principles, without supposing Dr. Coke by any means 
to have intended to admit the nullity of his former epis- 
copal ordination. Dr. Coke might, at that time, have 
thought it expedient, if a union took place, in order to 
gain the more, and to enlarge our field of action, to 
accommodate himself to the prejudices of those who 
deemed what they termed the " succession/' of import- 
ance. This was precisely what Bishop White himself 
had proposed but a few years before, in " The Case of 
the Episcopal Churches Considered." — <; If," said he, 
•' such" [measures] ' : as have been above recommended 
should be adopted,'' [viz., admitting to the ministry by a 
•lergvinan elected as permanent president, in conjunc- 
with other clergymen,] "and the episcopal succes- 
aftorward obtained, any supposed imperfections of 
ntermediate ordinations might, /'/' ■// were judged 
proper, be supplied without acknoivledyhuj their nullity, 
by a conditional ordination, resembling that of condi- 
'tonal baptism."' P 17 

But we conjecture if Dr ( 'oke did hint or suggest the 
propriety of admitting to the episcopacy, in union with 
the Protestant Episcopal Church, himself and the oen- 
tlemar, connected with him, he either meant that thev 
•should be. so admitted without reeonseeration ; or, if 
with roconsecralion, then it was that ho would submit 
to this for the sake of bring more extensively useful 


die i 


among those of the Protestant Episcopal Church, who 
might deem it of importance, in case of such a union, 
and not at all because he deemed it of any sort of con- 
sequence, — much less of necessity, either for himself 
or for the Methodists. 

But we have said that Bishop White mistook the im- 
port of Dr. Coke's letter, and may possibly have equally 
mistaken the import of what he considered a hint in 
conversation. It remains to show this. 

In his letter of July, 1804, Bishop White says, "The 
general outlines of Dr. Coke's plan were a reordination 
of the Methodist ministers," &c. In the letter of Sept., 
1806, he expresses it thus "His plan' [Dr. Coke's] 
" was, that all the ordained ministers then in the Me- 
thodist connection should receive episcopal ordination." 
Now let us turn to Dr. Coke's own language, as con- 
tained in his letter to Bishop White, dated April 24, 
1791. " Our ordained ministers," says Dr. Coke, "will 
not, ought not, to give up their right of administering the 
sacraments." Here their then existing " right" to adminis- 
ter the sacraments is expressly asserted, and also their 
obligation not to give it up, being a " right" of a sacred 
character, already vested. The validity of their ordina- 
tion is, in this passage, unequivocally averred. Yet Dr. 
Coke adds, " I don't think that the generality of them, 
perhaps none of them, would refuse to submit to a reor- 
dination, if other hinderances were removed out of the 
way" Now we ask, in the name of candour, if there 
be no difference between saying it was Dr Coke's plan, 
— as if it had been proposed by him as a thing deemed 
necessary by himself, that all the ordained Methodist 
ministers should be reordained, — and his averring that 
they ought not to give up the " right" which they pre- 
viously possessed of administering the sacraments; 
though he did not think that most of them, perhaps none 
of them, would refuse to submit to reordination, if their 
compliance in that respect should be the only remaining 


hinderance to a union ? — The difference to us is clear. 
And we believe it will be equally plain to every impar- 
tial and candid reader. 

But Ave will go farther, and say, had it even been Dr. 
Coke's " plan" that all the ordained Methodist ministers 
should be reordained, in case of a union with the Pro- 
testant Episcopal Church, it could not have been because 
he admitted the nullity of their existing ordination, 
unless he palpably contradicted himself in the same 
breath. The principle of such a proposal, had it been 
made, could have been no other, from the evidence 
before us, than that above stated, viz., a willingness, for 
the sake of more extensive usefulness, to accommodate 
himself to the prejudices of others, when he did not 
believe that his doing so would be sinful. The justifia- 
bleness, and even the expediency of such a course, 
without admitting the nullity of former ordinations, had 
been previously to that time amply vindicated by Bishop 
White himself, in the case of the Episcopal churches. 
That pamphlet Dr. Coke had no doubt seen, and it is 
highly probable that that very work had a principal 
influence in inducing him to approach Bishop White 
particularly on that subject. 

We have only to add here that whatever Dr. Coke 
did in this matter was his own individual act , and was 
neither approved of nor known by his colleague, Bishop 
Asbury, nor, as far as we are acquainted, bv a single 
other Methodist minister in the United States. And 
that Dr. Coke himself lived long enough to see. and 
with his characteristic candour, to ark/iowltdge that the 
failure of his scheme had been for the best.* 

* That Dr. Coke was ardent in his temperament, and sometimes hasty and 
precipitate in his measures, his best friends will admit. But his candour, 
when convinced of an error, was a trait, in his character not less predominantly 
striking. — At some periods of his life there is no question that he would have 
been willing to make even undue sacrifices for the sake of accomplishing a 
union between the body of Methodists and the Protestant Episcopal Church; 
and also with the Church of England. In addition to the prejudices of his 


A statement on this subject, similar to that of Mr. 
M'Caine, was made by the Rev. Dr. Wyatt, of the Pro- 
testant Episcopal Church, in a sermon published by 
that gentleman, in Baltimore, in the year 1820. From 
the correspondence of their materials, it seems pretty 
evident that they both drew from the same fountain ; 
which, however, they seem to have been equally 
ashamed to own. That Dr. Wyatt drew from it, we 
think there can be little doubt : for he adds to the story 
a remarkable fabrication of his author, which we believe 
never before appeared any where else , and which it 
might have been well for Dr. Wyatt to have given that 
author credit for , since, in not doing so, he has taken 
upon himself the responsibility of asserting as a fact 
what we peremptorily deny to be such. 

The author to whom we allude asserts that Dr. Coke's 
proposal to Bishop White was made " with the sanction, 
if not actually by the order, of Mr Wesley." Dr. Wyatt 
merely varies the phraseology a little, and asserts it 
was "with the approbation, if not direction, of Mr Wes- 
ley." In either shape we deny the statement, and 
demand the proof. The fact is that Mr. Wesley at that 
time was dead. And if the communication to Bishop 
White had been made by Dr. Coke with his approba- 
tion, and much more if by his direction, there can be 

education, as a clergyman of the Church of England, it is highly probable, 
too, that, at the time of writing to Bishop White, neither his mind, nor per- 
haps, as he supposed, Mr. Wesley's, had entirely recovered from the influence 
of the proceedings of the Conference of 1787, in relation to the appointment 
of Mr. Whatcoat, and the leaving of Mr. Wesley's name off the Minutes. 
This state of things, according to Dr. Coke's views, may serve to account for 
several expressions in his letter to Bishop White, both in relation to Mr. Wesley 
and to Bishop Asbury. The transactions of that period of our history we 
shall presently explain more fully. It is sufficient to add here that whatever 
unfavourable impressions respecting Mr. Asbury had been produced abroad, 
previously to that time, he outlived them all. The affectionate assurances of 
confidence and union which passed between Dr. Coke and him, at the General 
Conference of 1796, are well remembered by several now living, who were 
then present. And Dr. Coke's letter to him, of Feb. 1808, quoted above, 
abundantly attests the same fact. 


no doubt, from the open manner in which Dr. Coke 
unbosomed himself to Bishop White, and from the use 
which he did make of Mr. Wesley's name, that he would 
not have failed to mention so very important a circum- 
stance, nor Bishop White to communicate it. In fact, 
justice, in this case, would have required it in Dr. Coke's 
defence. And we respectfully submit it to the Rev 
Professor of Theology in the University of Maryland. 
whether attempts in this way to wound so large and 
respectable a body as the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
on such authority, be not more disparaging to his own 
sacred and elevated character than to them. 

In one colouring of the matter, however, neither Mr. 
M'Caine nor Dr. Wyatt seems to have had the hardi- 
hood to follow up his author. That author says : "It 
was a society applying for readmission into the church. 
and not two equally independent bodies that were to be 
considered as negotiating." — " The society could and did 
acknowledge the church she applied to," &c. Now, as 
it respects any application on this subject from the 
society, as he here calls the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
all this is wholly false. Though, in our opinion, there 
is just as much truth in it as in the assertion of the same 
author that Dr. Coke's proposal was made with the 
sanction, if not by the order, of Mr. Wesley — And this 
tale, we apprehend, will gain but little additional credit 
when it is known that it originated with one who had 
deserted the Methodist Episcopal Church, and joined 
the Protestant Episcopal Church ; and after pronouncing 
upon that church the most fulsome and high-toned eulo- 
gies, subsequently abandoned it also, and went where 
all who hold such principles as he had avowed, to be 
consistent with themselves, ought to go — to the Papists. 
And thence, no doubt, looked down on Dr. Wyatt, and 
the whole " schismtilkaV Protestant Episcopal Church, 
with as much contempt as he had before arrogated to 
himself the right to bestow, with so much bitter haughti- 


ness, upon the Methodist Episcopal Church- We mean 
the Rev. Mr. Kewley. And this gentleman is one of 
the " writers" passed off on his readers by Mr. M'Caine, 
among his ecclesiastical writers of " great celebrity /"* 

Dr. Wyatt asserts, farther, that " it has been the faith 
of the universal .church, without exception, until the period 
of the reformation, that to the order of bishops alone 
belongs the power of ordaining ministers : and that an 
ordination performed by the hands of a priest, deacon, 
or layman, or by any number of either, would be devoid 
of every degree of validity and efficacy, in conferring 
spiritual office and power." By bishops in this passage 
we understand Dr. Wyatt to mean diocesan bishops, in 
the high-church sense. And as he thought proper to 
apply his remarks to the " Methodist denomination" by 
name, whom he acknowledges to be " zealous and de- 
vout," whilst he excludes our whole order from any 
part or lot in the Christian ministry, he will excuse us 
for saying a few words in self-defence. Agitur de vita 
et sanguine Tumi. 

Dr. Wyatt has not even excepted the " exigence of 
necessity," which even Hooker says may " constrain to 
leave the usual ways »of the church." The same Mr. 
Hooker adds, " Where the church must needs have 
some ordained, and neither hath nor can have possibly 
a bishop to ordain ; in case of such necessity, the ordi- 
nary institution hath given oftentimes, and may give, 

* Dr. Bowden, another high-church writer, in his letters to Dr. Miller, 
affirms that John Wesley was evidently persuaded by Coke, and two or three 
others, to take the step of ordaining bishops for America ; and that it did not 
originate with himself. This will be sufficiently refuted in our section of 
" Testimonies of English Methodists." Dr. Bowden asserts also that Coke 
offered to Bishop White " to give up their spurious episcopacy," and insinuates 
that John Wesley acted " absolutely in contradiction to his own conviction." 
Dr. Bowden, however, wrote evidently in too great wrath to treat even the 
names of John Wesley and of Coke with common decency. Nor will the 
reader be surprised at his saying any thing that suited the purpose of abusing 
the Methodists, when informed that he copied Mr. Kewley, whose authority 
he had the prudence to cite. — Mr. Kewley adopted the maxim, " Throw dirt 
enough and some will stick :" and Dr. Bowden followed his example. 


place. And therefore, we are not simply without excep- 
tion, to urge a lineal descent of power from the apostles 
by continued succession of bishops, in every effectual 
ordination. Ecclesiastical Polity, book vii, sect. 14. 

The authority of Mr. Hooker has always been ranked 
in the first class by high churchmen themselves , and 
Dr. White, as we have before shown, asserted that the 
necessity of the churches in this country, about the close 
of the revolutionary war, was even greater than the exi- 
gence of those foreign churches to which Hooker alluded 

In the reign of Edward VI., about the year 1517, a 
very grave and learned assembly of select divines was 
called by the king's special order, for debating the set- 
tlement of things according to the .word of God, and the 
practice of the primitive church. It consisted of Cran- 
mer, archbishop of Canterbury, the archbishop of York, 
and many other prelates and divines of the first distinc- 
tion. The account of their proceedings Dr. Stillingfleet 
assures us he took himself from the authentic manu- 
script of Archbishop Cranmer, then first published. To 
the questions propounded to the assembly by order of 
the king, those eminent divines gave in their answers 
severally, on paper , which were all accurately summed 
up and set down by the archbishop of Canterbury him- 
self. The following were some of the questions and 

Quest. 10. " Whether bishops or priests were first , and 
if the priest were first, then the priest made the bishop ?" 

Ans. " The bishops and priests were at one time, and 
were not two things, but both one office in the begin- 
ning of Christ's religion." 

Quest. 13. " Whether (if it fortuned a prince Chris- 
tier], lerned, to conquer certen domynyons of infidells, 
having none but the temporal lerned men with him) it 
be defended by God's law, that he and they should 
preche and teche the word of God there or no, and also 
make and constitute priests or no?" 


Ans. " It is not against God's law, but contrary they 
ought indede so to do, and there be history es that witnesseth 
that some Christien princes and other laymen unconse- 
crate have done the same." — Observe, " there be histories 
that witness" — certainly before " the reformation," which 
was then but just begun. 

Quest. 14. " Whether it be forfended by God's law, 
that if it so fortuned that all the bishopps and priests 
were dedde, and that the word of God shuld there un- 
preached, the sacrament of baptisme and others unmi- 
nistred, the king of that region shulde make bishoppes 
and priests to supply the same or no ? " 

Ans. " It is not forbidden by God's law "* 

Iren. pp. 386-393. 

"If we may believe the great antiquaries of the 
Church of Scotland, that church was governed by their 
culdei, as they called their presbyters, without any bishop 
over them, for a long time. — Johannes Fordonus (De 
gestis Scot. lib. ii, ch. 2,) is clear and full as to their 
government from the time of their conversion about 
A. D. 263, to the coming of Palladius, A. D 430, that 
they were only governed by presbyters and monks. 
Ante Palladii adventum habebant Scoti fidei doctores 
ac sacramentorum ministratores presbyteros solummodo, 
vel monachos ritum sequentes Ecclesise primitivse." 
Ibid. p. 375. 

" It is no way sufficient," says Stillingfieet, " to say 
that these presbyters did derive their authority from 
some bishops — if they had any they were only chosen 
from their culdei," (as they called their presbyters,) 

* Of Archbishop Crammer, Dr. Warner, as cited with approbation by Bishop 
White, says, " His equal was never yet seen in the see of Canterbury, and I 
will take upon me to say that his superior never will." — The two last questions 
and answers above are cited by Bishop White also, who adds respecting them, 
" The above may be offered as the opinions of not only Cranmer, but also of 
most of the eminent bishops and other clergy of that period." Episcopal 
Churches Considered, p. 28. 


" much after the custom of the church at Alexandria, 
as Hector Boethius doth imply. And if we believe 
Philostorgius, the Gothic churches were planted and 
governed by presbyters for above seventy years , for so 
long it was from their first conversion to the time of 
Ulphhilas, whom he makes their first bishop." Ibid. 

For another instance, about the year 390, see Ireni- 
cum, p. 379, — and others in the year 452, after stating 
and arguing which, Dr. Stillingfieet thus concludes — " It 
appears then that this power" [of ordination by pres- 
byters] " was restrained by the laws of the church, for 
preserving unity in itself; but yet so that in case of 
necessity what was done by presbyters was not looked 
on as invalid." Ibid. p. 381. 

We have already referred to the practice of the 
church in Alexandria in making their bishops, for more 
than two hundred years. The mode in which some 
high-church writers attempt to explain Jerome's account 
of that matter w r e are not unapprized of. It would be 
easy to show that their explanation by no means deprives 
us, in this case, of the authority even of Jerome : and 
those learned doctors, to use the language of Stilling- 
fieet, who would persuade us that the presbyters did 
only make choice of the person, but the ordination was 
performed by other bishops, would do well first to tell 
us who and where those bishops were, — especially while 
Egypt remained but one province under the Prsefectus 
Augustalis. But in proof of the correctness of our un- 
derstanding of the case, we adduce the testimony of the 
patriarch of Alexandria himself, who expressly affirms, 
as we have before quoted, "That the twelve presbyters 
constituted by Mark, upon the vacancy of the see, did 
choose out of their number one to be head over the rest, 
and the other eleven did lay their hands upon him and 
blessed him, and made him patriarch." The patriarch, 
or bishop of Alexandria, who states this, was Eutychius, 
whose annals, with several other productions of his 


learned pen, are still extant, and whom Mosheim men- 
tions as the chief example of those Egyptian writers of 
the tenth century, " who in genius and learning were 
nowise inferior to the most eminent of the Grecian 
literati." Mosh., vol. ii, 383, 404. 

Stillingfleet understood this case as published by the 
most learned Selden, precisely in the same sense , and 
it is evident that Archbishop Usher did also ; for when 
he says King Charles the First asked him at the Isle 
of Wight, whether he found in antiquity that presbyters 
alone ordained any, he replied, Yes ; and that he could 
show his majesty more, even where presbyters alone 
successively ordained bishops, and brought, as an instance 
of this, the presbyters of Alexandria choosing and 
making their own bishops, from the days of Mark till 
Heraclas and Dionysius, a space of more than 200 

But after all that Dr. Wyatt has said, it is not a little 
remarkable that he recognises the Lutheran Church 
of Sweden as a regular and valid episcopal church ; 
although, if Dr. Miller be correct, it is notorious that the 
first ministers who undertook to ordain in Sweden, after 
the introduction of the Reformation, were only presby- 
ters ; and the Lutheran church does not scruple to 
admit the ordination even of bishops by presbyters, and 
indisputably disclaims any pretence of an apostolical 
and " divinely protected succession"' of bishops, for the 
validity of episcopacy. 

The burden of proof in this matter was not properly 
incumbent on us ; yet we have now adduced cases suffi- 
cient to form at least some exceptions to Dr. Wyatt's 
sweeping universal affirmative. When he shall have 
satisfactorily disoosed of these, we may perhaps produce 


Section VII.— The Prayer Book of VIM. 

Mr. M'Caine says, " The distinction between bishops 
and presbyters being the foundation of the episcopal 
form of government, and this distinction having no 
existence in fact, nor in Mr. Wesley's creed, our epis- 
copal superstructure falls to the ground," p. 19. Now 
we have abundantly proved, according to ecclesiastical 
writers of the most distinguished celebrity, that an epis- 
copal form of government is perfectly consistent with 
the admission that bishops and presbyters were prima- 
marily and inherently the same order. And we have 
especially proved that this was Mr. Wesley's view in 
particular. It was ten years after he was convinced 
that bishops and presbyters were the same order, that 
he declared that he still believed the episcopal form of 
church government to be Scriptural and apostolical ; 
that is, well agreeing w T ith the practice and writings of 
the apostles. So far as this argument is concerned, 
therefore, our " episcopal superstructure" may still stand. 

In another place, p. 14, Mr. M'Caine says, "It is 
upon the prayer book our episcopal mode of government 
is made to rest, and this is the only authority which is 
attempted to be produced for it." Were we disposed to 
adopt Mr. M'Caine's language, and to give our remarks 
a " serious moral bearing," we might ask, Is this truth 'I 

" But although it is very far from being true that the 
prayer book is the only authority which is at least 
attempted to be produced for our episcopal mode of 
government, yet, so far as Mr. Wesley's recommend- 
ation is concerned, we shall probably make a little 
more out of the prayer book than the sillv witness 
" brought into court" by Mr. M'Caine, who was careful 
both to choose his witness, and to put such answers 
into his mouth as were to his own purpose. Such a 


process a good cause cannot need. A bad one it might 

Dr. Coke's letters of ordination as a superintendent 
were dated Sept. 2, 1784. Mr. Wesley's preface to the 
first edition of his abridgment of the prayer book was 
dated Sept. 9, 1784, and his letter " to Dr. Coke, Mr. 
Asbury, and our brethren in North America," bore date 
Sept. 10, of the same year. These documents, there- 
fore, so nearly synchronous, are to be regarded, with 
the prayer book, as parts of one whole , and as consti- 
tuting together the " little sketch" which Mr. Wesley 
says he had drawn up in compliance with the desire of 
some thousands of the inhabitants of these States. This 
"sketch" had direct reference to the " ecclesiastical 
authority" to be exercised among '" our brethren in 
North America ;" where, as he says in the sentence 
immediately preceding, no one then " either exercised 
or claimed any ecclesiastical authority at all." 

Mr. M'Caine admits that the prayer book of 1784, 
entitled " The Sunday service of the Methodists in 
North America, with other occasional services" w T as 
printed at Mr. Wesley's own press, and sent to us by 
the hands of Dr. Coke. We ask, then, was not the 
abridging, and printing, and sending this book to us a 
" recommendation," even if it had contained no preface, 
and the term " recommend" had never been used ? And 
was it not a recommendation of those " other occasional 
services," as well as " the Sunday service V And for 
what were those other occasional services sent to us, if 
not to be used as a pattern in the ordering of our minis- 
try 1 To be able to answer these questions satisfac- 
torily, it will be necessary to observe carefully what 
those " other occasional services" were. It is not 
necessary here to name those for baptism, matrimony, 
the burial of the dead, &c. The following are sufficient 
for our purpose. At page 280 we find the forms for 
ordaining our ministers thus headed " The form and 


manner of making and ordaining of superintendents, 


The first office following is entitled, " The form and 
manner of making of deacons." And the running title 
at the head of the page is, " The ordaining of deacons" 

The second office is, " The form and manner of or- 
daining of elders." The running title is, " The ordain- 
ing of elders" 

The third is, " The form of ordaining of a superin- 
tendent." The running title is, " The ordination of 
superintendents.' 1 

On these facts we remark : — 1. It is a fair presump- 
tion that when Messrs. Whatcoat and Vasey were set 
apart as elders, and Dr. Coke as a superintendent, the 
same forms were used by Mr. Wesley himself which he 
abridged for us. 

2. He himself expressly calls these acts " ordaining," 
and " ordination." The reader will notice that Mr. 
Wesley undeniably intended that our setting apart 
superintendents in America should be called " ordaining" 
superintendents , and " the ordination of superintend- 
ents. 7 ' Yet when Dr. Coke was solemnly set apart by 
him, assisted by three other presbyters, Mr. M'Caine 
thinks we ought not to call it an ordination, and that 
Mr. Wesley meant no such thing ! 

3. If the setting apart of superintendents, as such, 
was not intended by Mr. Wesley to establish the ordi- 
nation of such an order of ministers among us, neither 
was the setting apart of deacons and elders intended to 
establish those orders. Similar forms and solemnities 
were recommended for the former as for the latter. In 
this case, if Mr. M'Caine's arguments be conclusive, it 
follows as clearly that Mr. M'Caine's eldership has been 
" saddled" upon the people contrary to Mr. Wesley's 
intention, as that our episcopacy has been. We assert 
with confidence that any intelligent, candid, and impar- 
tial man, who shall examine this prayer book, will say, 


either that Mr. Wesley intended to establish the ordi- 
nation of an order of superintendents, to act as bishops 
in fact, though with the title of superintendents , or, 
that he did not intend to establish the ordination of any 
orders of ministers at all ; and that " our fathers" utterly 
mistook "the whole affair."* 

4. The preceding remark is confirmed by this fact. 
The forms recommended to us by Mr. Wesley for " or- 
daining of superintendents, elders, and deacons,"' are pre- 
cisely similar to those used by the Church of England, 
and by the Protestant Episcopal Church in this country, 
for ordaining of " bishops, priests, and deacons." The 
only difference is, that Mr. Wesley somewhat abridged 
the forms, with a few verbal alterations, and substituted 
the title " superintendent" for " bishop," just as he did 
that of " elder" for " priest." So that it is plain, if by 
"superintendent" he did not mean that order of minis- 
ters denominated by those churches " bishops," neither 
by " elder" did he mean that order of ministers deno- 
minated by those churches " priests." 

5. In whatever sense distinct ordinations constitute 
distinct orders, in the same sense Mr. Wesley certainly 
intended that we should have three orders. For he 
undeniably instituted three distinct ordinations. All the 
forms and solemnities requisite for the constituting of 
any one order, in this sense, were equally prepared and 
recommended by him to us for the constituting of three 
orders. The term " ordain" is derived from the Latin 
ordino, to order, to create or commission one to be a 

* Mr. M'Caine's proceeding reminds us of the old Greek apologue of the 
eagle, which we will give in an ancient English version. 

" The eagle saw her breast was wounded sore : 
See stood, and weeped much, but grieved more. 
But when she saw the dart was feather' d, said, 
Wo 's me ! for my own kind hath me destroy'd." 

But had the eagle known that it was not only her own " kind," but her own 
offspring, who for the sake of winging a dart to wound his parent, had actually 
plucked himself to death, she would doubtless have weeped and grieved more. 


public officer. — And this from ordo, order. And hence 

persons ordained are said to be persons in " holy orders." 

And the degree of ordination stated in the " commis 

sion," or letters of ordination, shows the degree of the 

orders. At the same time we maintain that a third 

degree of ordination is perfectly compatible with the 

doctrine of two orders, if the term " order" be used as 

implying divine, right. This Mr. M'Caine admits. And 

it will appear still more clearly if we consider the nature 

and origin of ordination, as above stated. Lord King 

maintains that bishops and presbyters, in the primitive 

church, were the same order. Yet he expressly says 

that the bishops, when chosen such from among the 

presbyters, were ordained, as bishops, by imposition of 

hands. Constitution and Discipline of the Primitive 

Church, p. 49. In this respect, both Mr. Wesley's usage 

and ours exactly correspond with that of the primitive 

church, according to Lord King, even on the principle 

of two orders. 

6. The extension of the jurisdiction of the bishop, in 
consequence of the extension of the church, is not the 
creating of any new office, as we have shown from 
Stillingneet, and certainly cannot make it less proper 
that he should be solemnly ordained bv imposition of 
hands, and furnished with suitable credentials. The 
revival of such an itinerant, extensive personal over- 
sight and inspection is the revival of the apostolic prac- 
tice, and, as Mr. Wesley says, well agrees both with 
their practice and with their writings. 

7 The idea that equals cannot from among them- 
selves constitute an officer, who, as an officer, shall be 
superior to any of those by whom he was constituted, 
is contradicted by all experience and history, both civil 
and ecclesiastical ; and equally so by common sense. 
The contrary is loo plain to require illustration. It 
should be remembered, too, that Dr. Coke was ordained 
a superintendent, not by Mr. Wesley only, but by four 


presbyters ; — two of them indisputably acknowledged 
as such by the whole of the Church of England, and 
of the Protestant Episcopal Church ; and all of them 
by us, and by all others, both in those and in other 
churches, who admit the validity of ordination by pres- 
byters in such an exigency as that in which Mr. What- 
coat and Mr. Vasey were ordained such. — It is to bo 
remembered also that Dr. Coke was afterward authori- 
tatively and unanimously received in this office, by the 
body of preachers over whom he was to preside ; and 
that all these acts, in the peculiar circumstances in 
which Mr. Wesley's advice and help were asked, are to 
be taken together, as investing Dr. Coke with his " epis- 
copal authority" among us. A similar statement might 
be made with respect to Mr. Asbury, only substituting 
his unanimous election for unanimous reception. These 
church officers, after they were thus constituted and 
commissioned were superior, as our officers, in the actual* 
exercise of certain executive powers among us, to any- 
individual of those by whom they were constituted.— 
Even Mr. Wesley could not actually station the preaeh- 
ers in America, after we had superintendents of our 
own, agreeably to his own advice , yet Dr. Coke- and 
Mr. Asbury could. We shall hereafter prove that Mr.. 
Wesley did not reserve to himself even the appoint- 
ment of our superintendents ; and that neither did the 
General Conference of 1784 so understand him; nor 
was he, in consequence of any act of theirs, thereafter 
to exercise this power. 

We turn now to the preface of this prayer book. 

This preface is signed " John Wesley," and dated, 
" Bristol, Sept. 9, 1784," — only seven days after the or- 
dination of Dr. Coke ; and was plainly intended as a 
preface to the whole hook. In the first paragraph Mr. 
Wesley speaks in high terms of the " Liturgy" or 
" Common Prayer of the Church of England." He then 
states that he had made " little alteration" in this edition 



of it, except omitting most of the holy days so called ; 
shortening the service of the Lord's day; omitting some 
sentences in the offices of baptism, and for the burial of 
the dead , and leaving out many of the psalms, and parts 
of others. The enumeration of these particulars proves 
that by his edition of the "Liturgy" or '-Common 
Prayer," he meant the whole book, with all the offices 
and forms contained in it, as well as the Sunday service 
and psalms. With this evident meaning, he says, " The 
following- edition of it I recommend to our societies in 
America.'' Now this edition contained a form for " the 
ordination of superintendents" among us, in the same 
manner as bishops are ordained in the Church of Eng- 
land ; with the same solemnities, and for the same pur- 
poses ; viz., to preside over the flock of Christ, including 
the presbyters and deacons ; and to ordain others. Now 
does it comport with good sense to say, that Mr. Wesley 
recommended the form, but not the thing which that 
form imports 1 And will any intelligent man pronounce 
that that thing is not an episcopal order of ministers, and 
an episcopacy in fact, by whatever names they mav 
have been called ? This point is so plain that we are 
really ashamed to dwell on it. 

That we are not mistaken in ihe comprehensive im- 
port of the terms " Liturgy," and " Common Prayer," 
as above asserted, will appear from the following lan- 
guage of the convention of the Protestant Episcopal 
Church, by which the liturgy of that church was rati- 
fied, on the 16th of October, in the year 17MJ , and also 
from the language of Bishops White and Brownell. 

"This convention, having in this present session set 

NIES of the cluircii,' do hereby establish said book : 
and Ihey declare it to be the liturgy of this church , 
and require that it be received as such by all the mem- 
bers of the same." 


" The principal act of this session," says Bishop 
White, in his Memoirs of the Church, " was the pre- 
paring of the Book of Common Prayer, as now the esta- 
blished Liturgy of the church." 

"At the convention of 1808," (says Bishop Brownell, 
in the introduction to the ' Family Prayer Book, or Book 
of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacra- 
ments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church,') 
"thirty hymns were added to the Book of psalms and 
hymns. Since which time no changes have been made 
in our Liturgy T All which proves that by " the 
Liturgy," is to be understood the whole Book of Com- 
mon Prayer, with all the forms, rites, ceremonies, orders, 
offices, and administrations therein set forth and recom- 

A writer in another work lately suggested an inquiry 
whether our articles of religion also were not " surrep- 
titiously" introduced originally, and imposed on us by 
the bishops. We have not the work at hand to quote 
verbatim, but give the sentiment as we recollect it. 

If our brother will look into this prayer book of 
1784, he will find our articles of religion, abridged from 
the thirty-nine articles of the Church of England by 
Mr. Wesley, printed and recommended by him in this 
book, and adopted, as Mr. M'Caine admits this edition 
of the prayer book was, by the conference of 1784. It 
is true the articles are not ?iamed in the preface. But 
will any one contend that therefore Mr. Wesley did not 
mean to recommend them to us, although they are a part 
of the hook which he prepared, and printed, and sent, 
and recommended? Yet most certainly it would be 
just as rational to assert this, as that he did not mean 
to recommend to us the institution of an episcopal order 
of ministers, although he did prepare, and print, and 
send, and recommend to us a solemn form for the setting 
apart and ordaining of such an order. 

In this prayer book, however, but twenty-four articles 


will be found ; whereas we now have twenty-five. The 
additional one, inserted by the conference of 1784, is 
that now numbered the twenty-third, " Of the rulers of 
the United States of America." In the Sunday service 
Mr. Wesley inserted the form of " a prayer for the su- 
preme rulers of these United States." But it is pro- 
bable that he did not consider himself sufficiently well 
acquainted with our civil institutions, at that early 
period, to frame an " article" under this head ; and 
hence the addition of this article, by the conference of 
1784, in conformity with the prayer of the Sunday 

That no inv estimation of this sort, however strict, if 
conducted with a spirit of candour and fairness, can 
ever bring any stain on the fair escutcheon of our 
fathers, we are well persuaded. But if, coming from 
such sources, the challenging of such inquiries be con- 
nected with darkling insinuations of imposition and 
fraud, it cannot fail to furnish occasion to the ignorant, 
the disaffected, the bigoted, and the malevolent, who 
seek occasion against the defenceless manes of our 
venerated fathers , at whose feet, while on earth, it 
would hav<± been an honour to any of us, their sons, to 
sit , and may yet be in heaven. On this ground, and 
on this only, the time, and place, and manner of these 
things, we cannot but regret. 

The prayer book of 17S4 was brought to America 
in sheets. In those copies of it which have come under 
our inspection, the Minnies of the General Conference 
of 1784 are bound with it. The proper place and 
weight of those Minutes, in this argument, will be con- 
sidered in the ensuing section, in which we shall dis- 
cuss the prayer book of 1786. 


Section VIII.— The Prayer Book of 1786. 

This prayer book is entitled, " The Sunday Service 
of the Methodists in the United States of America, with 
other Occasional Services." It was printed London, 1786, 
at the press of " Frys and Couchman." In this edition 
we find the twenty-five articles of religion, including 
that of " the rulers of the United States of America ;" 
and also, " The General Minutes of the Conferences of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church in America." — Those 
Minutes were first printed in Philadelphia, by Charles 
Cist, in 1785, and were bound up with the volume of 
the prayer book which was brought from England, in 
sheets, in 1784. But in the edition of 1786 they are 
regularly printed as a part of the book. It is demon- 
strable on the face of the book, that the Minutes, as 
they appear in this edition, could not have been printed 
in America, and the rest of the book in England. This 
any printer will attest. 

We have now before us a small volume, entitled 
" Minutes of several Conversations between the Rev 
Mr. Wesley and others, from the year 1744 to the year 
1789. — London; printed by G. Paramore, North Green, 
Worship-street, and sold by G. Whitfield at the Chapel, 
City Road, and at all the Methodist preaching-houses 
in town and country, 1791." By a careful comparison 
of these Minutes with those of the General Conference 
of 1784, it will be found that the latter are nearly a copy 
of the former, so far as they had then been drawn up 
and published by Mr. Wesley ; with some occasional 
alterations adapted to our circumstances in this country ; 
together with the insertion of some few original minutes. 
There is plain internal evidence in the two publications, 
that the Minutes previously prepared by Mr. Wesley 
were made the basis of those of the General Confer- 
ence of 1784, and that the latter were drawn up from 


the former, with such alterations, abridgments, modifica 
tions, or additions, as that conference thought neces- 
sary. And such, we are informed, was the fact. These 
Minutes, thus prepared from Mr. Wesley's, were the 
groundwork of our " Form of Discipline." 

The General Conference of 1784 commenced its ses- 
sion on the 24th of December; and closed on the 1st of 
January, l?s5. On the 3d of January Dr. Coke left 
Baltimore. From the 8th to the 19th he was in Phila- 
delphia, and there published the Minutes of that confer- 
ence, the title of which was, " The General Minutes of 
the Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 
America." And in the answer to the third question, it 
was declared that they had formed themselves into an 
" episcopal church." See Dr. Coke's Journal of the 
above dates, and January 22, 1785. On the 2d of June 
following, Dr. Coke sailed from Baltimore for England, 
and was present at the ensuing British Conference, 
which commenced in London on the 26th of July of 
that year. His name is signed first to an instrument 
which was drawn up at that conference, and which bears 
date July 30, 1785, and may be seen in the British 
Minutes of that year. Mr. Wesley was also present at 
that conference.— Now let the reader put all these facts 
together, and then candidly consider the following 
questions . — 

1. If Dr. Coke and Mr. Asbnry were conscious that 
they had been guilty of duplicity, imposition, and fraud 
or of violating Mr. Wesley's instructions, in the oro-ani- 
zation of the Methodist Episcopal Church, is it probable 
that they would immediately after have printed and 
published these Minutes with this title, and with an ex- 
plicit statement of what had been done, and thus have 
exposed their acts in the face of Mr. Wesley and of 
the world? Is it probable that Dr. Coke, particularly 
who had the Minutes printed, would have done this' 
knowing that he was so soon to return to Encrl an d ? ' 


2. Is it not rationally presumable that a copy of these 
Minutes had reached Mr. Wesley, in the interval be- 
tween their publication in the middle of January and 
the last of July of that year, before the close of the 
British conference 1 

3. Is it not at least certain that Mr. Wesley must 
have felt sufficient interest in this matter, to have re- 
quired from Dr. Coke a particular account of what had 
been done in America 1 

4. Is it not presumable that Dr. Coke carried with 
him a copy of the printed Minutes ? 

5. Is it not presumable that Mr. Wesley would have 
inquired of him whether minutes were not taken, know- 
ing our custom to take minutes at all our conferences, 
and also have requested to see them ? 

6. Could Dr. Coke have declined to show them, or 
have concealed from Mr. Wesley what had been done, 
without the grossest duplicity and positive falsehood ? 

7 Is it probable that Dr. Coke was not only so kna- 
vish but so stupid, as to hazard his reputation, charac- 
ter, standing, and even his salvation, thus cheaply and 
foolishly, when he must have anticipated with certainty 
that Mr. Wesley would at some future time obtain a 
knowledge of what had been done, if he did not then ? 

8. If Dr. Coke could have been guilty of such base- 
ness, is it not probable that Mr. Wesley would have 
received information of it from some other quarter , at 
least before his death, which did not take place till nearly 
six years afterward ? 

9. If Mr. Wesley had ever discovered that Dr. Coke 
had so grossly betrayed his trust, and imposed both on 
him and on us, could he have continued afterward so 
highly to esteem and honour him, as he notoriously did, 
even to the day of his death ? 

We know that Mr. M'Caine has represented that Mr. 
Wesley did punish Dr. Coke for his proceedings at this 
period by leaving his name off the Minutes for one year 


But this is an entire mistake. At this very conference 
of 1785, Dr. Coke's name appears in the British Minutes 
in London, next after John and Charles Wesley them- 
selves. In 1786 he was appointed by Mr. Wesley, as' 
Mr. Crowther and Mr. Myles both state, to visit the 
societies in British America. And his name appears in 
the Minutes published by Mr Wesley in the Arminian 
Magazine for that year, under the head "America." 
The reason why it did not appear for that year in Lon- 
don, as usual, was probably because it w T as not expected 
that he would return to England till the ensuing confer- 
ence, as we know he did not. Yet previously to his 
leaving England for America, he attended and presided 
in the Irish conference in the year 1786, by Mr. Wes- 
ley's direction, and as his representative. See Myles's 
Chronological History Does this look like being then 
" under censure ?" 

In 1787 and 1788 he was again stationed in London 
with John and Charles Wesley. In 1789 his name was 
left off the Minutes ; but for reasons, as we shall here- 
after show, which had no shadow of connection either 
with his proceedings at the conference of 1784, or with 
his assuming the title of bishop, as Mr. M'Caine asserts. 
In 1790 he was again stationed in London with John 
and Charles Wesley ; and in 1791, at the conference 
succeeding Mr. Wesley's death, Dr. Coke stood first in 

In February, 1789, Mr. Wesley made his last will 
and testament. In that will he constituted five import- 
ant trusteeships, in all of which he named Dr. Coke 
first, except one, and in that he named him second. 
That will Mr. Wesley kept by him for two years, and 
left it unaltered to the day of his death. It is surely 
needless to say more to prove the high estimation in 
which, to his last moments, he continued to hold Dr. 
Coke. Nor could any testimony be more honourable to 
the memory of Dr. Coke than such a one as this, from 


a man of so much intelligence, and close and accurate 
observation as Mr. Wesley , and who had means of 
knowing Dr. Coke certainly ten thousand times more 
ample than Mr. M'Caine has ever had. 

10. If Dr. Coke, on his return to England in 1785, 
had succeeded in deceiving Mr. Wesley, and in conceal- 
ing from him the proceedings in America, is it at least 
probable that he would have hazarded his own expo- 
sure and utter disgrace, by reprinting in London the 
Minutes of the conference of 1784, only one year after 
his return, and while Mr. Wesley was on the spot '. Yet 
this he did do, retaining in those Minutes the title of 
" The Methodist Episcopal Church," and declaring that 
our societies here had been formed into an " episcopal 
church." Our question here is, not whether Mr. Wes- 
ley ever did actually see these Minutes, or not. This 
we will consider presently. But whether Dr. Coke, on 
the supposition that he had so grossly imposed on Mr. 
Wesley, as above stated, could have been both so daring 
and so stupid as even to hazard his seeing them, by 
causing them to be republished in London during Mr. 
Wesley's lifetime ? 

11. Is it probable that this edition of the prayer book, 
with these Minutes in it, after being thus published in 
London, should have continued in existence five years, 
till the death, of Mr. Wesley, without ever coming to his 
knowledge? Such a complicated machinery of fraud 
and villany must have been kept in operation on the 
part of Dr. Coke , such a combination and collusion of 
all parties against Mr. Wesley must have been carried 
on for so long a time ; and such surprising ignorance 
must have existed on his part, for the accomplishment 
of all this, as is, we must confess, beyond the reach of 
our highest credulity 

Under all these circumstances we feel warranted iri 
asserting that Mr. Wesley must have been acquainted 
with these Minutes, and consequently did know that the 


societies here had been formed into an " episcopal 
church," with the title of "The Methodist Episcopal 
Church." And if he did know it, and did not promptly 
and explicitly state his disapprobation of it, as we affirm 
he never did, we have a right to regard it as conclusive 
proof of his sanction. 

But there is yet stronger proof. In the Arminian 
Magazine for 1785, published by Mr. Wesley himself, 
we find the following minutes : " An extract from the 
minutes of a conference held at London, July, 1785, 
between the Rev. John Wesley and others." In this 
extract, after giving the stations of the preachers in 
England, Mr. Wesley, in a distinct place, adds the sta- 
tions in America. In these -Thomas Coke and Francis 
Asbury are mentioned as superintendents , and the 
names of all the elders who had been elected and or- 
dained at the conference of 1784 are then severally 
stated, together with those of Mr. Whatcoat and Mr. 

In connection with these Minutes, and in answer to 
the question, "What is the state of our societies in 
North America ?" Mr. Wesley inserted also in this place 
the letter " To Dr. Coke, Mr. Asbury, and our Brethren 
in North America ;" as showing their state , and on 
doing so, makes this remarkable note : — " If any one is 
minded to dispute concerning diocesan episcopacy he 
may dispute , but I have better work." See Arminian 
Magazine, vol. viii, pp. 600-602. From the terms and 
connection of this note it is highly probable that he had 
been charged with having instituted such an episcopacy 
in America, and refused to dispute about it ; preferring 
rather to go on with his work. But if he knew that he 
had done no such thing, and intended no such thino- ; — 
and much more, if he had been indignant at such an 
idea, as Mr. M'Caine would represent, he would simply 
and flatly have denied the charge, and repelled the 
statement. And with this charge against him too, there 


is the greater certainty that it was then known there 
through Dr. Coke, or the minutes of the conference of 
1784, that such an episcopacy had actually been esta- 
blished in America.* 

Assuming the fact then that Mr. Wesley did, at some 
time and in some way, become acquainted with the 
acts and proceedings of Dr. Coke and Mr. Asbury, and 
of the conference of 1784, in the organization of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, we ask, Where is the evi- 
dence that he ever disavowed them 1 or ever declared 
that in so doing they had gone contrary to his instruc- 
tions? Where is the evidence that he ever objected 
to that title of the church, or to the terms " episcopal " 
and " episcopacy ?" Where is the evidence that he ever 
protested or remonstrated against either of these, or 
against our adoption of the " episcopal " form of church 
government, under the direction of superintendents, 
elders, and deacons ? If Mr. Wesley knew that all this 
had been done " surreptitiously" and fraudulently ; and 
much more, if he knew that it had been imposed and 
" saddled" on the societies against his intentions, and 
under the cloak and sanction of his name, would he not 
have declared it ? Would it not have been his duty to 
declare it ? and may we not be well assured that he 
would have done so, from the plainness and decision 
with which we know that he was accustomed to speak ; 
and particularly at a time when he was personally 
charged and pressed by his brother Charles and others, 
for having thus " acted as a bishop," as we know he 
was. Yet we deny that one syllable of such evidence 
has ever yet been produced. To the terms " episcopal" 
and " episcopacy," — to our being called the " Methodist 
Episcopal Church," or having adopted the " episcopal " 
form of church government, Mr. Wesley never did 

* A diocesan episcopacy is simply an episcopacy extending beyond the 
superintendence of a single congregation. A diocess is a circuit or a 
bishop's jurisdiction, whether large or small. 


object ; and we challenge the production of one par- 
ticle of testimony to show that he ever did. — What Mr. 
M'Caine has said with regard to his letter to Bishop 
As bury respecting the title " bishop," we shall distinctly 
discuss in another place, and shall prove that it does 
not in the slightest degree impugn what we have now 

But Mr. M'Caine says, p. 17, " The circumstance" of 
this edition of the prayer book " being printed by Frys 
and Couchman, and not by Mr. Wesley, renders the 
whole affair suspicious." That "it was printed for 
somebody — perhaps for Dr. Coke, who in 1786 was 
under censure by Mr. Wesley for the address he pre- 
sented to General Washington," — " and contains an 
article of religion not contained in Mr. Wesley's prayer 

It is really surprising with wdiat uniformity Mr. 
M'Caine persists in the plainest errors , familiarizing his 
mind with "suspicion" in the utter absence of proof, 
withholding circumstances which would explain what 
he wraps in " mystery ;" and exposing himself to a se- 
verity of criticism from which, did justice to our subject 
and to the dead permit, we would fain forbear. 

The address to Washington we shall notice hereafter. 
The article of religion contained in the prayer book of 
1786 which was not in that of 1784 is that now num- 
bered the 23d,—" Of the Rulers of the United States of 
America," which had been adopted by the General Con- 
ference of 1784, and was most properly inserted in the 
ensuing edition of the prayer book of 17*6. Had Mr. 
M'Caine stated this, all mystery respecting the addition 
of this article would have been dissipated. — It was not 
necessary that this prayer book should have been 
printed at Mr. Wesley's press. It was not printed for 
Mr. Wesley, nor for the Methodists in England , but for 
those in the United States, of whom Dr. Coke was a 
superintendent. Dr. Coke was possessed of an ample 


fortune, and with a liberality amounting almost to pro- 
fuseness, devoted his fortune to such expenses, and to 
any others which he believed calculated to serve the 
cause in which he was engaged. He had procured the 
printing of the Minutes previously in Philadelphia, and 
now published •another edition of this prayer book, with 
the minutes and articles of religion included, for the 
Methodists in America. Frys and Couchman had been 
in the habit of printing for Mr. Wesley, and were the 
printers of the second volume of the Arminian Maga- 
zine. And we can perceive nothing in this whole 
affair calculated to render it in the least degree " sus- 
picious" to any but a mind habituated to a suspicious- 
ness which spares not the characters even of men who 
have been among the brightest ornaments of the ChriS- 
tian church, and as distinguished for their high sense 
of honour and propriety as for their liberality and deep 

Mr. M'Caine adds, "After the publication of the 
prayer book of 1786, a rule was passed in the confer- 
ence that no book should be sold among his societies" 
[Mr. Wesley's] " which was not printed at his press. 
But whether this rule was passed with special reference 
to the prayer book of 1786, or not," he adds, " we can- 
not say " That is, a prayer book for the Methodists 
" in the United States of America," with a prayer for 
" the Rulers of the United States of America," and an 
article of religion acknowledging these rulers, and Mr. 
M'Caine could not say whether it was not intended for 
sale among the societies in E?igland ; and whether Mr. 
Wesley and the British conference did not find it neces- 
sary gravely to pass a resolution prohibiting the sale of 
it there ! 

But on this point Mr. M'Caine has suffered his spe- 
culations to carry him beyond his mark. He " cannot 
say" that this resolution was not " passed with special 
reference to the prayer book of 1786." If it were, 


Mr. Wesley must have had knowledge of that prayer 
book. And if he had, then all the inferences which we 
have drawn above are amply confirmed and stand in full 

Section IX. — Bishop Asbury. 

Our reverence for the name and for the character of 
Mr. Wesley is unfeigned and profound. We have never 
felt free, however, to claim for him absolute infalli- 
bility , or an incapableness of being led, on any occa- 
sion, or in any circumstances, to use even too strong an 

That his letter to Mr. Asbury, on suffering himself 
to be called bishop, contains expressions too severe, will 
be admitted, we think, by his warmest friends. Mr. 
M'Caine, indeed, rejoices over it as one who has found 
great spoil. He seems delighted with it. Yet the dis- 
cerning reader will perceive that, after all, in summing 
up in his " conclusion," he has wholly misrepresented 
its import. "Let the name of bishop and the episcopal 
office as it now exists among us," says he, "" be put 
away for over. In doing this, we shall comply with 
Mr. Wesley's advice to Mr. Asbury For my sake, for 
God's sake, for Christ's sake, put a full end to this." 
To what ? — To " the episcopal office ?" We deny that 
Mr. Wesley ever advised any such thing, or ever meant, 
or intended so to be understood. It was to the term 
"bishop" solely that he objected, from the associations or- 
dinarily connected with it in the public mind, especially 
in England. To the " office" he never did object , nor to 
the terms " episcopacy" or " episcopal." The office was of 
his own creation, and he intended it to be perpetuated. 
And will Mr. M'Caine contend that if the " office," as it 
now exists, or was originally instituted, had been con- 


tiimed from the beginning, as it was for several years, 
with the title of superintendent, that the church would 
have been any less episcopal, in form or in fact, or its 
superintendents any less bishops 1 The logic by which 
this should be made out would be a curiosity * 

That our views of this letter correspond with those 
of Mr. Wesley's biographer, and his intimate companion 
and friend, the venerable Henry Moore, who gave 
publicity to the letter, .will appear from the following 

"Mr. Wesley," says Mr. Moore, " well knew the dif- 
ference between the office and the title. He knew and 
felt the arduous duties and the high responsibility which 
attach to the one, and the comparative nothingness of 
the other." Life of Wesley, vol. ii, p. 278. 

" He gave to those E^rao™," [episcopoi, bishops,] 
" whom he ordained, the modest, but highly expressive 
citle of superintendents, and desired that no other might 
De used." Ibid., p. 280. His objection to the title 
" bishop," Mr. Moore adds, " arose from his hatred of 
all display " 

Mr. Asbury was of opinion that the " unpleasant ex- 
pressions" in some of the letters which he received from 
his venerable friend were " occasioned by the misrepre- 

* On Dr. Coke's return to England after the organization of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, he was attacked by an anonymous writer, supposed to have 
been Mr. Charles Wesley. In his defence he affirmed, that in his proceedings 
in America, " he did nothing but by a delegated power which he received 
from Mr. Wesley." This he affirmed publicly, under Mr. Wesley's eye ; 
and at a time when there is every reason to believe that Mr. Wesley had 
seen the Minutes of the conference of 1784. "On this ground," says 
Mr. Drew, "it cannot be denied, that his plea of delegated authority is valid, 
Mr. Wesley and himself being identified together." Life of Dr. Coke, p. 101. 

Mr. M'Caine asserts, p. 16, that in the progress of his work "documents 
will be found, which unequivocally declare his" [Mr. Wesley's] " disappro- 
bation of the proceedings of the conference" [of 1784] " in relation to every 
thing appertaining to episcopacy." This assertion we wholly deny. Not 
one such document is found in his whole work. The mere title of bishop, 
to which Mr. Wesley did object, was not the act of the conference of 1784 ; 
nor is it at all necessary to the existence of " episcopacy," which might 
exist as well without as with it ; and did so exist for several years. 


sentations of others. Yet he bore them with a meek- 
ness which has obtained for him the commendation of 
Mr. Wesley's own biographer, who was satisfied that 
Mr. Asbury " was not convinced that he had acted 
wrong, and lost none of his veneration for his father in 
the gospel [Mr. Wesley] on this occasion." It is mani- 
fest, indeed, that Mr. Moore himself was of opinion that 
Mr. Wesley, in this affair, had expressed himself too 
strongly, and rather inconsistently with his former ad- 
missions. " But did he not," says Mr. Moore, " upon 
this occasion, a little forget what he had written in his 
address to the societies in America after their separa- 
tion from the mother country : ' They are now at full 
liberty simply to follow the Scriptures and the primitive 
church , and we judge it best that they should stand fast 
in the liberty wherewith God has so strangely made 
them free.' But the association in his mind between 
the assumed title and the display connected with it in 
the latter ages of the church, was too strong. He 
could not, at that moment, separate the plain, laborious 
bishops of the American societies, where there is no 
legal establishment, from the dignified prelates of the 
mighty empire of Great Britain. 

" That our brethren who are in that office," continues 
Mr. Moore, " are true Scriptural bishops, I have no doubt 
at all : nor do I wish that the title should be relin- 
quished, as it is grown into use, and is known by every 
person in the United Slates, to designate men distin- 
guished only by their simplicity and abundant labours." 
Life of Wesley, vol. ii, pp. 2S6, 2*7 

These extracts are full to our purpose, and surely 
have as much weight as any thing that has been said 
by Mr. M'Caine. 

At the British conference held in Liverpool, in 1820, 
we heard the profoundly learned Dr. Adam Clarke, and 
that most able and eloquent divine, the Rev Richard 
Watson, express themselves publicly before the confer- 


ence in relation to our episcopacy, to the same effect, as 
a true, actual, Scriptural episcopacy, of the most genu- 
ine and apostolical character. 

Mr. M'Caine protests against loading the name and 
memory of Mr. Wesley with the obloquy of intending 
the episcopal form of church government for the Ameri- 
can societies, while he so strongly opposed the use of 
the title bishop. But we put the question to every man 
of candour : — Did not Mr. "Wesley recommend and insti- 
tute for the American societies a general superintend- 
ency, by ministers solemnly set apart for the purpose, 
with imposition of hands and prayer, and all the usual 
solemnities of ordination, and possessing the powers of 
ordination, and all others usually considered episcopal? 
And will any man deny that such a form of govern- 
ment would have been episcopal, and such general 
superintendents bishops, though the title bishop and 
episcopal had never been used 1 

Mr. Wesley's biographer, Mr. Moore, clearly held this 
view of the subject , and certainly considered the asser- 
tion of it as far from loading Mr. Wesley's name or cha- 
racter with obloquy We aver then that Mr. Wesley 
did intend the " thing" episcopacy, for the American 
societies, but not the title bishop. We do not say he 
"secretly" intended it.. This is a term used by Mr. 
M'Caine, not by us. There was neither secret nor 
" mystery" in it. Mr. Wesley plainly and openly de- 
clared it, and solemnly confirmed it by his act and deed, 
attested by his hand and seal, and published to the 

We have maintained the position that Mr. Wesley did 

* When the title " bishop" was introduced into the Minutes, it was sanctioned 
by the conference, as meaning precisely the same thing with superintendent. 

Mr. M'Caine says, (p. 38,) " It is somewhat remarkable, that as soon as 
Mr. Wesley's name was left out of the Minutes, the term bishop was intro- 
duced into them." Now he had just said, (p. 36,) " his name was left off the 
Minutes of 1785." Yet the title bishop was not introduced into the Minutes 
till 1788. Why this inconsistency in the course of two pages? 



in fact intend and recommend for the American socie- 
ties the episcopal form of church government. Mr. 
M'Caine admits that Dr. Coke, Mr. Asbury, and our 
fathers, so asserted. If so, then he must also admit 
that they so understood Mr. Wesley ; and in that case 
they cannot be blamed for acting and speaking accord- 
ing to their understanding. Or, if he will not admit 
this, then he must charge them either with a " myste- 
rious" stupidity, or with knowingly asserting wilful 
falsehoods, and '• surreptitiously" introducing, for the 
gratification of their ambition, a form of government, 
■' imposed upon the societies under the sanction of Mr. 
Wesley's name," though they themselves did not under- 
stand Mr. Wesley to intend or to recommend any such 
thing! Yet Mr. M'Caine says, (p. 56,) that Mr. Asbury 
'■ was a great, wise, good, and useful minister of the 
Lord Jesus Christ, having few to equal him." How is 
all this to be reconciled? And if we believe all that 
Mr. M'Caine has either directly imputed to Dr. Coke 
and Mr. Asbury, or plainly enough insinuated, of their 
fraudulent practices, for the concealment and the esta- 
blishment of their forgeries and impositions, who can 
envy either their wisdom or their goodness ? 

Mr. M'Caine seems determined, in fact, to involve the 
whole of the proceedings of those times in a charge 
of disiiigeuuousness and duplicity, irreconcilable with 
either wisdom or goodness ; and such as could spring 
from nothing but corrupt and bad motives. "" Indeed," 
he says, p. 36, " there is a mystery hanging over the 
whole of the proceedings of those times, if there is not 
a studied obscurity and evasion in the records of the 
church." And he does not stop short of insinuating, if 
not of roundly asserting, that records and dates were 
altered and falsified for the accomplishment of the same 
base purposes. 

Alas ! what a friend have the venerable dead found 
in Mr. M'Caine. He has "great veneration" for their 



memory ! Yet, while he salutes, he stabs them. He 
kisses, and straightway leads them to be crucified. 

If by such means they did indeed introduce into the 
church an " illegitimate episcopacy," hazarding every 
thing fair and honourable for the sake of the title of 
" Methodist bishops," they must indeed, to use Mr 
M'Caine's language, have been " strongly infected with 
an episcopal mania." And nothing but mania, on such 
a supposition, can afford a solution of their wickedness 
and folly. 

In the conclusion of Mr. Wesley's letter to Mr. As- 
bury on assuming the title of bishop, Mr. M'Caine 
thinks there is a "mystery" unintelligible without an 
explanatory key ; which he of course furnishes to suit 
his purpose. Mr. Wesley says, " Let the Presbyte- 
rians do what they please, but let the Methodists know 
their calling better." Now, says Mr. M'Caine, " What 
connection has this sentence with the rest of his letter 1 
We perceive none." But we perceive a very plain con- 
nection , and one perfectly " intelligible," without any 
other " explanatory key" than that of a simple attention 
to the subject, and a knowledge of the views of the 
Presbyterians in relation to it. The subject was a Me- 
thodist minister's allowing himself to be called bishop — 
Now the Presbyterians do allow this. " In the form of 
government of the Presbyterian Church the pastors of 
churches are expressly styled bishops, and this title is 
recommended to be retained as both Scriptural and ap- 
propriate." Miller's Letters, p. 9. " Let the Presbyte- 
rians," says Mr. Wesley, " do what they please, but let 
the Methodists know their calling better." — Who does 
not perceive the plain connection ? 

Again, Mr. M'Caine says, pp. 39, 40, " Mr. Asbury 
had said he would not receive any person deputed by 
Mr. Wesley to take any part of the superintendency of 
the work intrusted to him. Yet neither he nor the con- 
ference refused to receive Dr. Coke. Indeed to have 


shown the least, symptom of opposition either to Mr 
Wesley or to Dr. Coke, at this juncture, would have 
been to prevent the accomplishment of the most ardent 
wishes of Mr. Asbury and the preachers. It would 
have been to dash the cup from their lips when they 
were upon the very point of tasting its sweets. No 
opposition, therefore, was made. No resistance was 
offered. Every thing went on smoothly ; and whether 
from prudence or policy, inclination or interest, Dr. 
Coke was received as a superintendent, and Mr. Wes- 
ley's authority acknowledged and respected. But — 
scarcely had Mr. Asbury begun to exercise the func- 
tions of his new office, when Mr. Wesley's authority was 
rejected, and his name left out of the Minutes." — What 
ideas Mr. M'Caine attaches to the terms " wise" and 
" good," we do not certainly know. But how he can 
call Mr. Asbury wise and good, in the very same work 
in which he continually paints him in such colours, upon 
any principles of ethics which we have ever studied, is 
beyond our comprehension. 

When the conference of 1784 said they judged it 
expedient to form themselves into a separate and inde- 
pendent church, Mr. M'Caine affirms that they meant that 
they did then " separate from Mr. Wesley and the English 
Methodists ;" and adds, " in accordance with this declara- 
tion his name was struck off the Minutes of conference." 
Yet the fact is, that that same conference acknowledged 
themselves Mr. Wesley's sons in the gospel, ready in 
matters belonging to church government to obey his 
commands , and recorded his name on their Minutes 
with this declaration, and left it so recorded : and in the 
face of this Mr. M'Caine makes the above assertion.* 

* We had imagined that these singular ideas were perfectly novel ones of 
Mr. M'Caine's ; till we discovered the same in one of Mr. Hammett's 

It was more than two years after the organization of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church before Mr. Wesley's name was left off the Minutes, in the 
proper sense of that phrase ; and it was not done by Mr. Asbury, nor by the 
conlerence of 1784. This will be explained hereafter. 


The absurdity of his interpretation of this subject, and 
the true meaning of the phrase " separate and indepen- 
dent church," as used by the conference of 1784, will 
farther appear from the following testimonies. 

The first native American travelling preacher was 
the late venerable Wm. Watters. In his memoirs writ- 
ten by himself, under the date 1777, he says, " In fact 
we considered ourselves at this time as belonging to the 
Church of England, it being before our separation, and 
our becoming a regularly formed church" p. 57 Again : 
" Dec. 25, 1784. — We became, instead of a religious 
society, a separate church under the name of the Me- 
thodist Episcopal Church." Ibid., p. 102. 

"From the year 1769 to the year 1784 the Method- 
ists were regular members of the Church of England. 
Since 1784 the Methodists in America have been inde- 
pendent of the English Church, and have had an epis- 
copacy of their own." Rev. Nicholas Snethen's Reply 
to J. O'Kelly's Apol, p. 61. 

Dr. Coke, in the sermon which he preached in Balti- 
more, on the ordination of Bishop Asbury, expressed 
the same sentiments, in these terms, " The Church of 
England, of which the society of Methodists in general 
have till lately professed themselves a part." — And in 
his letter to Bishop White he expressly calls the sepa- 
ration spoken of " our plan of separation from the 
Church of England." 

The Rev. Ezekiel Cooper was present at the first 
meeting of Dr. Coke and Mr. Asbury in America , one 
of " the most solemn, interesting, and affectionate meet- 
ings," he declares, " which he has ever witnessed." At 
that meeting the sacrament of the Lord's supper was 
first administered among the Methodists in this country 
by their own ministers. At that meeting he first par- 
took of that ordinance, and then first consented to enter 
into the itinerant connection. And from that time to the 
present, no man among us, probably, has ever more 


studiously and thoroughly acquainted himself with every 
thing relating to Methodism, and to its origin and his- 
tory, and especially to the origin and history of the 
Methodist episcopacy, than Mr. Cooper. It will pro 
bably be admitted, too, that few, if any, among us are 
more capable of investigating such subjects , or have 
had more ample opportunities and means of searching 
into them critically and closely We shall, therefore, 
avail ourselves of his testimony with confidence : and 
the more so, as it is well known that he did not in all 
things agree with Mr. Asbury on some points of eccle- 
siastical polity Yet he had, notwithstanding, a heart, 
as well as a head, to appreciate and to honour both his 
conduct and his motives. 

" The conference met," says Mr. Cooper, " Dec, 1784. 
It was unanimously agreed that circumstances made it 
expedient for the Methodist societies in America to be- 
come a separate body from the Church of England, of 
which, until then, they had been considered as mem- 
bers." Cooper on Asbury, p. 108* 

"From that time," (14th Nov., 1781,) says Mr. Cooper 
again, " I have had a particular and intimate knowledge 
of Francis Asbury, and the manner of his life. We 
have had a confidential intercourse, an intimate friend- 
ship, and union of heart. I am confidently persuaded, to 
take him all and in all, that no man in America ever came 
up to his standard. I have known him well, and I have 
known him long. Most excellent man ; who can but 
admire him with reverence ? His eye appeared to be 
always single, and his whole body, soul, and example 

* It will be observed that what was considered the Episcopal Church in 
this country, both during and for some time after the revolutionary war was 
still usually spoken of as the Church of England ; although, strictly speaking 
the Church of England had ceased to exist in the United States from the' 
time of the declaration of our independence. It was in this common ac 
ceptation of the phrase that all the writers of those times whom we quote 
used it And even to this day it is known that the Protestant Episcopal 
Church is sometimes called the Church of England. 


full of light. The purpose of man is essentially con- 
nected with his manner of life. The word purpose sig- 
nifies the design and motive of the heart in our actions. 
Now what was the design, the motive, the object, the 
end, or the purpose of the venerable Bishop Asbury ? 
Examine his whole deportment and conduct — retro- 
spect and investigate his public and private life. Look 
into all his movements and transactions. We have had 
the most indubitable evidences of the honest sincerity 
and strict integrity of his soul, and the purity and up- 
rightness of his designs, intentions, and motives. Next 
to his brother Charles, no man stood higher in the 
esteem and confidence of Mr. Wesley than Dr. Coke ; 
and in America no man stood so high with him as Mr. 
Asbury." Ibid., pp. 134, 135. 

This is the testimony of no sycophant, flatterer, or 
dependant. It is the honourable and faithful testimony 
of one intimately acquainted with the parties , who had 
nothing to hope or to fear ; and who rendered his tes- 
timony after their death ; whose only object was truth, 
and justice to the dead ; and who was himself well ac- 
quainted with the mind of Mr. Wesley, having been one 
of his correspondents, and received from him the last 
letter that he ever wrote to America. 

Had the conduct of Mr. Asbury been regarded by 
Mr. Wesley in the serious moral bearing in which Mr. 
M'Caine has represented it, it is impossible that a man 
of Mr. Wesley's discernment, and high sense of honour 
and propriety, could have continued to hold him in the 
high esteem in which we have the most satisfactory 
evidence that he did. 

Mr. Asbury always believed that some things respect- 
ing him had been unfairly represented to Mr. Wesley ; 
and we think that Mr. M'Caine himself has furnished 
documents (though for a very different purpose) which 
tend strongly to confirm this impression. He quotes a 
letter from Dr. Coke to Mr. Wesley, dated August 9, 


1784, in which are these words, "Mr. Brackenbury in- 
formed me at Leeds that he saw a letter in London 
from Mr. Asbury, in which he observed, ' that he would 
not receive any person deputed by you to take any part 
of the superintendency of the work invested in him, or 
words evidently implying so much.' " Now we think 
this account is sufficiently refuted by the unhesitating, 
the open, and the exceedingly affectionate manner in 
which Mr. Asbury did receive and welcome Dr. Coke, 
immediately on his arrival. This has been attested by 
Mr. Cooper, who was an eye and ear witness. Indeed, 
Mr. Cooper affirms that so touchingly tender, and affect- 
ing was the scene, that he can never forget it. It was 
in full view of a large concourse of people, — a crowded 
congregation at a quarterly meeting, — and the whole 
assembly, as if divinely struck, burst into a flood of 
tears. If all this, on the part of Mr. Asbury, was dis- 
simulation and hypocrisy, concealing under such a show 
the internal resistance which he felt to the reception 
of a coadjutor from Mr. Wesley, lest he should " dash 
the cup from his lips, when upon the point of tasting its 
sweets," then, indeed, does his memory deserve to be 
branded with infamy. Mr. Brackenbury doubtless said 
what he thought, — yet how easily might he have been 
mistaken in the recollection of the expressions of a 
letter, when undertaking to recite them from memory 
at such a distance ? How easily might he have mistaken 
their meaning? Indeed, he himself gives evidence of a 
want of clearness of recollection as to the exact expres- 
sions of that letter, for he adds, " or words evidently 
implying so much." And we know well that a very 
small, and even undesigned variation of expression, may 
very materially alter the sense. We have already seen 
an instance of this in the case of Dr. Coke's letter to 
Bishop White. The import of that letter has been 
clearly misunderstood, though with the letter itself in 
hand. Had we before us, also, the letter of Mr. Asbury, 


to which Mr. Brackenbuiy alluded, we might perhaps 
be able to show some equal mistake. We object, 
therefore, to this parol, third-handed report , and unless 
the document itself be produced, we protest against 
the statement. 

In another letter, dated Oct, 31, 1789, Mr. M'Caine 
(p. 47) represents Mr. Wesley as saying of Mr. Asbury, 
" He flatly refused to receive Mr. Whatcoat in the cha- 
racter I sent him." Now this could not have been. — 
Mr. Asbury had no power, of himself, to refuse to receive 
Mr. Whatcoat. It was the conference that refused to 
receive him. If the conference had received him, Mr. 
Asbury would have been obliged to do so also, or him- 
self to have left the superin tendency * 

Again ; in this same letter Mr. Wesley is represented 
as saying, " He" [Mr. Asbury] "told George Shadford, 
Mr. Wesley and I are like Cesar and Pompey — he will 
bear no equal, and I will bear no superior." Now let 
it be remembered that George Shadford left America 
early in 1778. At that time Mr. Asbury had been in 
this country himself but a few years, and was then in 
the most critical and perilous circumstances in the heat 
of the revolutionary struggle, doubtful of his own 
safety, and of the fate of the Methodist societies. And 
can we believe that even then, or at any period still 
earlier, he seriously made such a speech to George 
Shadford, declaring himself the rival of Mr. Wesley, 
and not brooking even his superiority, as Pompey would 
not brook Cesar's 1 — Credat Judseus Apelles. It was 
known and acknowledged, both by Mr. Asbury and 
every other preacher, that his place and office at that 
time was not that of Mr. Wesley's equal or rival, but 

* That Mr. Asbury did not refuse to receive Mr. Whatcoat, we shall, in 
another place, demonstrate by the most indubitable evidence. It is proper, 
however, to add here, that it was not from personal objections to Mr. What- 
coat that the conference did not then receive him as a superintendent ; but 
for reasons which will be hereafter stated. They did at a subsequent con- 
ference elect him. 


of his assistant. Or, if this speech is alleged to have 
been made before Mr. Rankin left America, then at that 
period he was not even Mr. Wesley's assistant, but sub- 
ject also to Mr. Rankin. 

But how happens it that Mr. M'Caine has told us 
nothing more about this letter ? Why did he not state 
to whom it was written, and from what authority he 
received it ? Had he not sufficient ground to be " sus- 
picious" of this "whole affair?" Did he not derive it 
from one whom he knew to have been an avowed, bitter, 
and personal enemy of Bishop Asbury , — one who 
laboure'd to distract and rend our infant church , — who 
was formally expelled from the British connection , and 
was directly charged by Dr. Coke with the grossest 
calumny and falsehood I The documents in proof of 
all this are in our possession. Yet it is from such 
sources that Mr. M'Caine has picked up, and, after the 
parties are all dead, has published calumnies which had 
been long since silenced and buried in merited oblivion. 
And we here assert, that if his publication be stripped 
of the materials which he has derived from such sources, 
and from the obsolete pamphlets of Mr. Kewley, Mr. 
Hammett, Mr. O'Kelly, and other separatists, and trou- 
blers of our Israel, very little original matter will be 
found in his whole production , except, indeed, the am- 
plifications and the deeper tincture which their long 
refuted aspersions have received from his pen , and the 
advantage which he has taken of the lapse of time and 
the silence whirh death has imposed on the accused, to 
impute to them unheard-of frauds and forgeries, which 
in their lifetime no man living had the effrontery even 
to insinuate. The aforesaid noted letter bears on the 
face of it marks of corruption or of fabrication. And 
until better authority is produced for it, or the docu- 
ment itself, we hold it unentitled to one particle of 

Again, in the letter with which Mr. M'Caine seems to 


be so much, pleased, Mr. Wesley says to Mr. Asbury. 
" I study to be Utile, you study to be great ; I creep, 
you strut along. I found a school, you a college." It 
will be recollected that this letter was written in the 
year after what has been called the leaving of Mr. 
Wesley's name off the Minutes ; and at a period when 
even his great and excellent mind had not, perhaps, 
entirely recovered from that occurrence. It is known, 
too, that there were individuals unfriendly to Mr. Asbury, 
who represented him unfairly to Mr. Wesley. The 
Rev. Ezekiel Cooper himself intimated to Mr. Wesley 
the injustice of such representations ; and he thinks Mr. 
Wesley had allusion to this in the last letter which he 
wrote to him, just before his death. But had Mr. Wes- 
ley been in America, and himself witnessed Mr. Asbury's 
manner of life, from the commencement of his ministry 
among us to its close, would he have expressed him- 
self thus 1 We believe he would not. The testimony 
of the most intelligent, observing, and competent eye- 
witnesses, who watched him narrowly, and saw him and 
knew him intimately, in all situations and circumstances, 
in private and in public, for more than thirty years, is 
vastly different. 

To the testimony of Mr. Cooper, already adduced, 
we add the following : — 

" It is scarcely necessary to mention, what must be 
so obvious, that in performing his astonishing annual 
tours, and in attending to all the vast variety of his 
Christian, ministerial, and episcopal duties and callings, 
he must have been almost continually on the move. 
Flying, as it were, like the angel through the earth, 
preaching the everlasting gospel, no season, no weather 
stopped him. Through winter's cold and summer's heat 
he pressed on. He was often in the tempest and the 
storm ; in rain, snow, and hail , in hunger, thirst, weari- 
ness, and afflictions. Sometimes uncomfortable enter- 
tainment, with hard lodging, and unkind treatment. 


' I soar,' said Mr. Asbury himself, ' but it is over the tops 
of the highest mountains.' — Then to the distant and re- 
mote settlements, traversing solitary and gloomy valleys ; 
crossing and recrossing dangerous waters ; administer- 
ing the word of life in lonely cottages, to the poor and 
destitute , sleeping upon the floor, or on beds of straw, 
or not much better, in houses of logs, covered with barks 
of trees, or wooden slabs ; sometimes lodging in the 
wilderness and open air, with the earth for his bed and 
the sky for his canopy, surrounded by ravenous beasts 
and fierce savages. He knew how to abound among 
the wealthy, and how to endure hardship and want 
among the poor. This was his maimer of life, to spend 
and be spent, in going about from place to place, like 
his Master and the disciples of old, in doing good. He 
cheerfully and willingly condescended to men of low 
estate. Even the poor African race, in bondage and 
wretchedness, were not neglected by him. He attended 
to their forlorn condition, and taught them the way of 
life and salvation. When among the great, the honour- 
able, and the rich, he manifested humility in prosperity ; 
maintaining, at the same time, a dignified independence 
of spirit, without exaltation. When among the poor and 
lower classes of society, he showed a courteous conde- 
scension, and manifested content and patience in adver- 
sity. He went on through good report and through evil 
report, among the rich, the poor, the wise, and the un- 
wise — at all times, among all people, in all places, and 
upon all occasions, his aim was to promote the cause of 
God ; to be instrumental to the good of man, and to the 
salvation of precious souls." — Cooper on Asbury, pp. 

Such is the testimony of Mr. Cooper. And who that 
reads it, and venerates the memory of the departed 
Asbury, will not exclaim, 0, thou man of God, who 
could so have abused the ear of the aged Wesley, thy 
venerable friend, as to have induced from him such 


reproof? But the meekness of conscious innocence 
with which Mr. Asbury received it, excites our admira- 
tion, not less than the mingled emotions which must be 
produced in every generous breast at the unkindness 
with which Mr. M'Caine yet pursues him in the grave. 

With regard to the part which Mr. Asbury acted in 
founding a "college? Mr. Wesley was equally misin- 
formed. This matter has been placed in its true light 
by Mr. Asbury himself, as Mr. M'Caine might have 
seen in his Journal. After the college was founded, he 
certainly did all in his power to support it. And when 
it was burned in December, 1795, he remarks, " Would 
any man give me £10,000 per year, to do and suffer 
again what I have done for that house, I would not do 
it." But that it was not founded by him, he explicitly 
affirms in these words, " I wished only for schools." It 
is true, Dr. Coke wanted a college. And the whole 
head and front of Mr. Asbury's offending is, that he 
yielded to the wishes of his colleague and his senior in 
office, and co-operated with him. 

Mr. Anbury's favourite plan was that of" district schools." 
These he recommended to the members of the Method- 
ist Episcopal Church: and, in the year 1791, prepared 
an address recommending them. Mr. Lee represents 
this address as having been drawn up in 1793. This, 
however, is a mistake It may be found in the Minutes 
for 1791, and is dated, " Near Salem, New-Jersey, Sept. 
16, 1791." Had this plan been generally adopted, the 
great wisdom and excellence of it w x ould have been 
felt to this day 

With regard to the naming of Cokesbury College, 
we believe Mr. Asbury had no hand in it. It was done 
at the conference held in Baltimore, in June, 1785. 
When it was proposed to name the college, different 
names were proposed, such as New Kingswood, and 
others, after places in England. Some proposed to call 
it Coke College, and others Asbury College. On which 


Dr. Coke, to end the discussion, suggested that they 
might unite those names, and call it Cokesbury ; which 
was done. These facts we have derived from persons 
who were present at that conference. He that can 
make a crime out of them must use his pleasure. 

The fact is, that Cokesbury College, so called, was 
really no more than a school, on the plan of Kingswood. 
This was the plan agreed on between Dr. Coke and 
Mr. Asbury, and is so stated by Dr. Coke in his Journal 
of Nov. 14, 178 1. The institution never was incorpo- 
rated as a college. This was in contemplation ; but 
before a charter was obtained, the destruction of the 
building by fire terminated the existence of the whole 

We may well say then with the late Rev. John Dick- 
ens " Mr. Asbury does not bear a character like many 
others, so superficial as not to admit of examination 
beneath its surface ; but, like fine gold, the more it is 
scrutinized, the more its intrinsic worth appears there- 
fore they who have most thoroughly investigated his 
character, botli as a Christian and a minister, admire it 
most." Remarks on W Hammett, p. 6. 

The following is the testimony of the Rev. Nicholas 
Snethen : — 

" For nearly thirty years, he" [Mr. Asbury] " has 
travelled, with a delicate and disordered constitution, 
through almost all the inhabited parts of the United 
States. Nothing but the wild, uncultivated wilderness 
could fix his bounds. Wherever there were souls to be 
saved, he has endeavoured to extend his labours. But 
they have not been such as arc endured by the ordinary 
minister. He has not only laboured incessantly in the 
word and doctrine, he has been in perils in the wilder- 
ness, — in perils among false brethren — in journeyings 
often — in weariness and painfulness — in watchings 
often — in hunger and thirst — in fastings often — in cold 
and nakedness. From the first day he set foot upon 


American ground, unto the present hour, he has never been 
known to seek the honour that cometh from men ; nor can 
any man accuse him of indulging the flesh, or seeking 
the pomp and vanity of this world. We have never 
known him to spend one day more than was strictly 
necessary in any city or town upon the continent. We 
have observed that he never waits for a solicitation to 
visit the frontiers : but we have frequently, after we 
have endeavoured to dissuade him from these painful 
and hazardous journeys, looked after him with anxious 
solicitude, expecting never to see his face again.- If 
Mr. 'Kelly and Mr. H. wish to know what it is that 
disposes the Methodist preachers to give such a prefer- 
ence to this Englishman, we answer : " It is not his 
native country, — it is not merely because he is a bishop ; 
we think nothing of hare titles ; but our preference is 
founded in a knowledge of the man, and his communi- 
cation. We have tried him in all things, and we have 
always found him faithful to the trust reposed in him by 
us. In him we see an example of daily labour, suffer- 
ing, and self-denial worthy the imitation of the young 
preacher. In a word, we have every reason to esteem 
him as a father, and not one reason to suspect or discard 
him as a tyrant or despot." Reply to Mr. O'Kelly, p. 51. 

Section X. — Testimonies of English Methodists. 

Mr. M'Caine says, p. 31, "Neither are the ordina- 
tions which he" [Mr. Wesley] "conferred, viewed by 
writers among the English Methodists, who wrote in 
justification of Mr. Wesley's right to ordain, as favour- 
ing our title to episcopacy" And in support of this 
assertion, he quotes a passage from the English Method- 
ist Magazine for 1825, which states that Mr. Wesley 


"gave up episcopal ordination as understood by high 
churchmen,'" and established the " validity of presbyte- 
rian ordination." But who ever disputed this 1 Are not 
both these propositions as clearly maintained by the 
Methodist Episcopal Church as by our brethren of the 
British Connection ? That any " contrary statement 
coming from our book agents" in this country, has ever 
been made or published, is an assertion wholly un- 

On the character of our episcopacy we have already 
stated the sentiments of Dr. Adam Clarke, and of the 
Rev. Richard Watson. We have also quoted a passage 
from the Rev Henry Moore, the intimate friend of Mr. 
Wesley, and his faithful biographer, in which he says 
of our bishops : " That our brethren who are in that 
office are true .Scriptural bishops, I have no doubt at all, 
nor do I wish that the title should be relinquished. "' 
Life of Wesley, vol. ii, p. 2S7 

To these testimonies we add the following, from the 
Rev. Jonathan Crowther, author of the Portraiture of 

" Peace being now established with the United States , 
and Mr. Asbury and the other preachers having been 
instrumental of a great revival during the war, solicited"' 
[Mr. Wesley] "to send them help. Hence, in February 
this year" [17stJ " he called Dr. Coke into his chamber, 
and spoke to him nearly as follows That as the Ame- 
rican brethren wanted a form of discipline, and minis- 
terial aid, and as he ever wished to keep to the 
Bible, and as near to primitive Christianity as he 
could, he had always admired the Alexandrian mode of 
ordaining bishops. The presbyters of that great apos- 
tolical church would never allow any foreign bishop to 
interfere in their ordinations but on the death of a 
bishop, for two hundred years, till the time of Diony- 
sius, they ordained one of their own body, and by the 
imposition of their own hands. Adding withal, that he 


wished the doctor to go over and establish that mode 
among the American Methodists. 

" All this was quite new to the doctor. The idea of 
an Alexandrian ordination was at first somewhat re- 
volting to his prejudices. However, being about to set 
out for Scotland, he weighed the subject for two months, 
and then wrote his entire approbation of the plan. Ac- 
cordingly, he was ordained bishop, and brothers What- 
coat and Vasey presbyters." Second English edition, 
pp. 412, 413. 

The same statement is made by the Rev Joseph 
SutclifTe, an eminent Wesleyan Methodist minister, in 
his " Short Memoirs of Thomas Coke, LL. D." This 
work was republished by Daniel Hitt and Thomas 
Ware, in 1815. 

But Mr. M'Caine relies on the English Wesleyan 
Methodist Magazine, and quotes the volume for 1825. 
Let us see, then, how this work supports him. That 
same volume contains a " Review of the Rev Henry 
Moore's Life of Rev John Wesley," in which we think 
we recognise the style of one of the most eminent men 
in the British connection. The following interesting 
passages, extracted from it, are as clearly and as fully 
to our purpose as if they had been written for us. 

" The author," says the reviewer of Mr. Moore, " has 
spent some time in showing that episcopacy, by name, 
was not introduced into the American Methodist society 
by the sanction of Mr. Wesley, who, though he in point 
of fact did ordain bishops for the American societies, 
intended them to be called 'superintendents? To the 
statement of this as an historical fact, no objection cer- 
tainly lies ; but the way in which it is enlarged upon, 
and the insertion of an objurgatory letter from Mr. Wes- 
ley to Mr. Asbury on the subject, — can have no tend- 
ency but to convey to the reader an impression some- 
what unfavourable to Dr. Coke and Mr. Asbury, as 
though they were ambitious of show and title. Mr 



Moore, indeed, candidly enough relieves this, by admit- 
ting that, on Mr Wesley's 'principle itself, and in his own 
view, they were true Scriptural episcopoi, and that Mr. 
Wesley's objection to the name, in fact, arose from its 
association in his mind rather with the adventitious 
honours which accompany it in church establishments, 
than with the simplicity and pre-eminence of labour, 
care, and privation, which it has from the first exhibited 
in America, and from which it could not from circum- 
stances depart. According to this showing, the objec- 
tion was grounded upon no principle, and was a mere 
matter of taste or expediency — Whether the name had 
or had not the sanction of Mr. Wesley, is now of the 
least possible consequence, as the episcopacy itself wxs of 
his creating." English "Wesley an Methodist Magazine 
for 1S25, p. 183. 

Clearer testimonies from the most eminent English 
Methodists, Ave could not desire . and we cheerfully 
submit it to the reader whether such men as these were 
not likely to be as well acquainted with the subject as 
Mr M'Caine , and whether their judgment be not a 
sufficient counterpoise to his 1 

In addition to the above, however, we have now 
before us a London edition of Dr. Coke's Journal, with 
a preface dated, "City Road, London, Jan. 2o, 1790;" 
accompanied with a dedication " To the Rev Mr. Wes- 
ley " In this dedication Dr. Coke states that he had 
found in Mr. Wesley " a father and a friend for thirteen 
years." If we compare this with the period at which 
Dr. Coke became connected -with Mr. Wesley, which 
was between Aug. 1776 and Aug. 1777, it will just bring 
us down to the date of the preface ; and this date, too, 
is in that very year [conference year] in which Dr. 
Coke's name was left off the British Minutes. It is 
hardly to be presumed, then, that Dr. Coke would, at 
that period particularly, have published and dedicated to 
Mr. "Wesley, as his father and friend, what he knew to 



be denied by Mr. Wesley, and to be peculiarly offen- 
sive to him. Yet in these very Journals, page 106, 
Dr. Coke says, and said it to Mr Wesley, " On the 9th 
of March" [1789] " we began our conference in Georgia. 
Here we agreed (as we have ever since in each of the 
conferences) that Mr. Wesley's name should be inserted 
at the head of our Small Minutes, and also in our Form 
of Discipline. — In the Small Minutes as the fountain of 
our episcopal office ; and in the Form of Discipline as 
the father of the whole work, under the Divine guid- 
ance. To this all the conferences have cheerfully and 
unanimously agreed." Now where is the evidence that 
Mr. Wesley ever " remonstrated" against this, or ex- 
pressed the slightest displeasure at it ? On the contrary, 
considering the circumstances then existing, is it not 
absolutely preposterous to believe that Dr. Coke would 
have dedicated such a statement to him, if he had not 
had the best reasons to believe that it would meet his 
approbation ? This statement also completely refutes the 
insinuation that the American conferences possessed any 
disposition to treat Mr. Wesley with disrespect or " con- 
tempt ;" much less to " excommunicate" him ! It may 
serve to satisfy another writer, also, what is meant in the 
Minutes of 1789, by saying that Mr. Wesley, Dr. Coke, 
and Mr. Asbury exercised the episcopal office " by regu- 
lar order and succession." The intention was simply to 
acknowledge Mr. Wesley's 'precedence. To guard against 
any other construction, a note is added to that observa- 
tion in the Minutes, referring to another place, in which 
the idea of the fabulous apostolical succession is ex- 
pressly resisted by the bishops themselves. 


Section XL — Dr. Coke. 

Mr. M'Caine states that the manner in which the 
doctor discharged the duties of the new office he was 
appointed to fill, and the title of bishop which he as- 
sumed, in connection with Mr. Asbury in their joint 
address to General Washington, "president of the Ame- 
rican congress," involved him in difficulties with Mr. 
Wesley and the British conference ; and that Mr. 
Wesley called him to an account for his conduct, and 
punished him by leaving his name out of the Minutes 
for one year. 

As Mr. M'Caine professes to make the authority of 
Mr. Drew the basis of his account of this affair, we shall 
first take it up on his own ground, and shall show, from 
his own authority, that had he presented the subject 
fully, as Mr. Drew has done, instead of exposing Dr. 
Coke to reproach, it would demand for him, from us, 
both our admiration and our veneration. 

According to Mr. Drew, the charge alleged against 
Dr. Coke in the British conference, was neither "the 
manner in which he discharged the duties of the new 
office he was appointed to fill," nor his having assumed 
" the title of bishop :" but simply, that he, being a British 
subject, had expressed to General AA^ashington senti- 
ments, m relation to the American revolution, which, as 
a British subject, they conceived he ought not to have 
expressed. Mr. Drew, though himself a British subject, 
has vindicated both the conduct and the motives of Dr. 
Coke on that occasion, with a triumphant ability which 
leaves us nothing to add. A few fuller extracts from 
the same pages from which Mr. M'Caine took his, 
will place the subject in the fair and candid light in 
which it is regarded by Dr. Coke's more magnanimous 

"It is well known," says Mr. Drew, "that in the 


unhappy contest between Great Britain and America, 
Mr. Wesley very warmly espoused the cause of England, 
and reprobated the conduct of the colonists. This cir- 
cumstance placed the Methodists in a very suspicious 
light in the eyes of the Americans. The contest was 
indeed now brought to an issue. But although the tem 
pest had subsided, the agitation which it occasioned still 
continued, and the waves were occasionally heard to 
beat upon the shore. The suspicions, therefore, which 
the Methodists incurred, it was incumbent on them to 
wipe away. The citizens thought it their duty to rally 
around the infant government, and to express their ap- 
probation of the principles which had been adopted. 
Among these citizens the different religious sects pre- 
sented their addresses. Amidst these examples, and 
under the peculiar circumstances in which the Method- 
ists were placed, it was scarcely possible for them to 
avoid making a similar acknowledgment without incur- 
ring the vengeance of their foes. , Dr. Coke and Mr. 
Asbury having assumed the character of bishops, were 
in the eyes of all the acknowledged head of the Ameri- 
can Methodists and no address could be considered as 
official unless it bore their signatures, as the organ of 
the body Thus circumstanced, an address was drawn 
up, and signed by Dr. Coke and Mr. Asbury, in behalf 
of the American Methodists, and presented to General 

" Dr. Coke had both a private and a public consist- 
ency of character to sustain. As a subject of Great 
Britain, tenacious of the consistency of his personal 
actions, prudence would have directed him not to sign. 
But as a minister of Jesus Christ, as filling an official 
station in the Methodist societies, and as a superintend- 
ent in America, the welfare of the gospel commanded 
him to promote its interests, and to leave all private con- 
siderations as unworthy of bearing the name of rival. 
Between these alternatives he made a noble choice, and 


acted upon an exalted principle, to which none but su- 
perior spirits can aspire. He has taught us by his 
magnanimous example that 

' Private respects to public weal must yield,' 

and that personal reputation was no longer his when 
the interests of Christianity demanded the costly sacri- 
fice. By walking on this vast and comprehensive circle, 
he has encircled his name with wreaths of laurel, which 
will continue to flourish, when the sigh of smiling pity, 
and of sneering condolence can be no longer heard. 
Those who still continue to censure his conduct on the 
present occasion, now the mists of prejudice are done 
away, and all the consequences of each alternative 
appear in their proper bearings, plainly tell us how they 
would have acted under similar circumstances, if, like 
him, they had been called to feel the touch of Ithuriel's 

" A copy of this address was introduced" [into the 
British conference] " as a ground of censure against the 
doctor. It was urged against him, that, as a subject of 
Great Britain, it was inconsistent with his character to 
sign the address. That several expressions therein 
contained, in favour of the American government, im- 
plied a severe reflection on our own," [the British,] " and 
could not justly have been used by a British subject. — 
That, as a member of the Methodist society in England, 
and a leading character in the connection, his conduct 
was calculated to provoke the indignation of government, 
— and finally, that the address itself was a tacit im- 
peachment of Mr Wesley's political sentiments, and tended 
to place the whole body of Methodists" [in England] 
" in a very equivocal and suspicious light. 

" Dr. Coke heard these charges urged against him 


" Under these circumstances, as some decisive steps 
were necessary to be taken in this critical affair, it was 


finally determined that the name of Dr. Coke should be 
omitted in the Minutes for the succeeding year. This 
prudent resolution had the desired effect, and the busi- 
ness of conference proceeded and terminated in peace. 

" But this silent mark of disapprobation, as was evi- 
dent from the effects which followed, was on the whole 
more nominal than real. The doctor still maintained his 
rank in Mr Wesley's affectionate regard, and continued to 
retain those offices which he had hitherto filled. At the 
conclusion of the conference he proceeded as though 
nothing disagreeable had occurred, travelling through 
the societies in the same manner as he had travelled 
before he went to America." Drew's Life of Dr. Coke, 
pp. 102-145. 

Such was the " punishment" then of Dr. Coke. Such 
the cause that led to it. Such the " profound silence" 
with which he heard the charge, and the Regulus-like 
magnanimity and self-devotion with which he acted, for 
the sake of beloved America and of American Methodists. 
And shall they forget him ; or now remember him only 
to stain him with dishonour ! " tell this not in Gath." 

It will be observed that Mr. M'Caine repeatedly 
asserts that the address to General Washington, by Dr. 
Coke and Mr. Asbury, was presented in the year 1785. 
Now in that address they styled themselves bishops. 
We ask then, according to Mr. M'Caine's dates, why 
was it that neither Mr. Wesley nor the British confer- 
ence did then object to that title, or censure Dr. Coke 
for it 1 Mr. M'Caine, indeed, says his assuming that title 
in that address was a ground of the omission of his 
name in the British Minutes. This we deny. It is an 
assertion wholly gratuitous, and unsupported by one 
particle of testimony. But if that address was presented 
to General Washington in 1785, it follows that Dr. 
Coke and Mr. Asbury had taken the title of bishops 
three years previously to the introduction of it into the 
Minutes, and without censure. This title was not intro- 


duced into the Minutes till 1788 , nor was Mr. Wesley's 
objurgatory letter to Mr. Asbury written till September, 
1788. And though Dr. Coke was completely in Mr. 
Wesley's power during this interval, yet it does not 
appear that he inflicted on him the smallest penalty- 
Can Mr. M'Caine explain all this, and still assert that 
the address was presented to General Washington in 

But, on the hypothesis of Mr. M'Caine's dates, there 
is something still more curious in this affair. He main- 
tains that the address to General Washington was pre- 
sented before Dr. Coke left the United States in 17*5 , 
that it was published in the newspapers ; and that a 
copy of it was introduced into the British conference, 
as a ground of censure against the doctor, on his return 
to England in that same year. 

Now, supposing these facts, is it not a singular con- 
jecture that Mr. Asbury or his friends, in order to 
screen him also from " punishment," or with any other 
motive, should have " changed the date of this address," 
and published it with an "altered" date, four years 
later than the true . one, if it had been published in the 
newspapers four years before with its true date, carried 
across the Atlantic, and laid before Mr. Wesley, the 
British conference, and the world ! In other words, 
that Mr. Asbury or his friends, from any motive, should 
have committed such a stupid forgery in the falsification 
of an official document, when both he and they must 
have known that the means of their exposure were so 
notorious that their detection and conviction would be 
inevitable ? For it will be recollected that the parties 
were then all living, and the circumstances all recent , 
and matters of public notoriety From what principle 
so vile an insinuation could proceed, on ground not only 
so futile, but so perfectly and manifestly absurd, the 
reader must form his own conclusion. 

It will by no means excuse Mr. M'Caine to say that 


he does not directly assert " by whom this thing was 
done." Every reader of his work cannot but consider 
Mr. Asbury, or his friends, or both, as implicated. The 
"History and Mystery" of the "Episcopacy" of those 
days was his subject ; and the application is so plain 
that he who runs may read. Besides, by whomsoever 
it was done, Mr. Asbury must either have been privy 
to it, or certainly have known it afterward, and Dr. 
Coke also. And on this ground, at all events, they 
stand implicated by this insinuation, in the guilt of 
having at least countenanced and concealed an act of 
such criminality and baseness. 

Section XII. — Methodist Episcopacy. 

The following views of our episcopacy were those of 
the bishops themselves, as contained in the notes of the 
Discipline prepared by Dr. Coke and Mr. Asbury, at 
the request of the General Conference. 

" The most bigoted devotees to religious establish- 
ments (the clergy of the church of Rome excepted*) 
are now ashamed to support the doctrine of the apos- 
tolic, uninterrupted succession of bishops, — and yet 
nothing but an apostolic, uninterrupted succession can 
possibly confine the right of episcopacy to any particu- 
lar church." And " the idea of an apostolic succession 
being exploded, it follows that the Methodist Church 
has every thing which is Scriptural and essential to jus- 
tify its episcopacy." Ed. 1798, pp. 6, 7 

" Nor must we omit to observe" [speaking of primi- 
tive episcopacy] " that each diocess had a college of 
elders or presbyters, in which the bishop presided. So 

* Perhaps a few others, who still claim a very near relationship to Rome, 
ought to have been included in this exception. 


that the bishop by no means superintended his diocess 
in a despotic manner, but was rather the chief execu- 
tor of those regulations which were made in the college 
of presbyters." Ibid., 8. 

Nothing has been introduced into Methodism by the 
present episcopal form of government which was not 
before fully exercised by Mr. Wesley — But the autho- 
rity of Mr. Wesley and that of the bishops in America 
differ in the following points 

" 1. Mr. Wesley was the patron of all the Methodist 
pulpits in Great Britain and Ireland for life, the sole 
right of nomination being invested in him by all the 
deeds of settlement. — But the bishops in America pos- 
sess no such power. The property of the preaching 
houses is invested in the trustees, and the right of nomi- 
nation to the pulpits in the General Conference, and in 
such as the General Conference shall from time to time 
appoint* Here, then, lies the grand difference between 
Mr. Wesley's authority, in the present instance, and that 
of our American bishops. The former, as (under God) 
the father of the connection, was allowed to have the 
sole, legal, independent nomination of preachers to all the 
chapels ; the latter are entirely dependant on the Gene- 
ral Conference." Ibid., 40, 41. 

"But why does the General Conference lodge the 
power of stationing the preachers in the episcopacy? 
We answer, On account of their entire confidence in it. 
If ever, through improper conduct, it loses that confi- 
dence in any considerable degree, the General Confer- 
ence will, upon evidence given, in a proportionable 
degree, take from it this branch of its authority But 
if ever it betrays a spirit of tyranny or partiality, and 
this can be proved before the General Conference, the 
whole will be taken from it . and we pray God that in 

* With this before our eyes, is it not strange that any candid writer should 
attempt to excite odium against the bishops, by representing our churches as 
" bishops' property 1" 


such case the power may be invested in other hands." 
Ibid., 41. 

" And we verily believe, that if our episcopacy should 
at any time, through tyrannical or immoral conduct, 
come under the severe censure of the General Confer- 
ence, the members thereof would see it highly for the 
glory of God to preserve the present form, and only to 
change the men." Ibid., 42. 

" 2. Mr. Wesley, as the venerable founder (under 
God) of the whole Methodist society, governed without 
any responsibility whatever , — but the American bishops 
are as responsible as any of the preachers. They are 
perfectly subject to the General Conference." Ibid., 42. 
The words " entirely dependant" and "perfectly subject 
are printed in Italics by the bishops themselves, to invite 
our particular attention to this acknowledged fact. 

After naming one other point of comparison between 
the powers of Mr. Wesley and those of our bishops, 
viz., in the entire management of all the conference 
funds, which he possessed, and they do not ; the 
bishops thus conclude : — 

" We have drawn this comparison between our vene- 
rable father and the American bishops, to show to the 
world that they possess not, and, we may add, they aim 
not to possess, that power which he exercised, and had 
a right to exercise, as the father of the connection; — that, 
on the contrary, they are perfectly dependant ; that their 
power, their usefulness, themselves, are entirely at the 
mercy of the General Conference." Ibid., 43, 44. 

Now what more can we desire than such acknowledg- 
ments and declarations, freely and voluntarily made by 
the bishops themselves ? And with what propriety, in 
the face of them, can our episcopacy be denominated 
an " absolute episcopacy ;" or the bishops our " masters." 

The power of stationing the preachers is certainly a 
great and weighty power, for the due and faithful exer- 
cise of which the bishops should be carefully and watch- 


fully held to a strict responsibility. But it is a power 
vested in them by the preachers themselves, and as 
liable to be modified, or to be wholly taken from them, 
whenever the body of preachers shall judge such a 
measure expedient or necessary. The weight of this 
power rests upon the itinerant preachers. But surely, 
they of all men have the least right to complain of it, 
since the vesting of it, and the continuing of it in the 
bishops, is their own voluntary act and choice. They 
have submitted, and continue to submit to it, often, 
doubtless, with many and great inconveniences and 
sacrifices, because they have believed it most efficient, 
with an itinerant ministry, for the spread of the gospel 
and for the good of the church. And it is believed that 
our members, with very few exceptions, have always 
been of the same opinion. 

The bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church have 
no control whatever over the decisions of either a gene- 
ral or an annual conference. Whereas the bishops of 
the Protestant Episcopal Church have an absolute nega- 
tive in their general conventions, and no act whatever 
can be passed in their church without the consent of the 
house of bishops, though it might even be unanimously 
agreed to, and ardently desired by the whole body, both 
of the clergy and laity, a power certainly greatly su- 
perior to any power possessed by the bishops of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Another evidence of the dependance of our bishops 
on the General Conference is, that if they cease to travel 
without the consent of that body, they become imme- 
diately incapable of exercising among us any episcopal 
or other ministerial function. In other words, as the 
bishops in their notes interpret this part of our Disci- 
pline, they " are obliged to travel till the General Con- 
ference pronounces them worn out or superannuated ;" 
a restriction which, as they justly remark, is not to be 
found in any other episcopal church. 


Again : a bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
cannot ordain a single individual, except in the mode 
prescribed by the General Conference, by the vote and 
direction of an annual conference. 

In the notes on the Discipline, Dr. Coke and Mr. 
Asbury did indeed claim the right, on their responsibility 
to God, binding them to " lay hands suddenly on no 
man," to " suspend the ordination of an elected person,' 
if such reasons appeared clearly against it that they 
could not proceed with a good conscience. But they, at 
the same time, acknowledged the necessity and the 
obligation of great caution in the exercise of this claim. 
And we >are not aware that a single instance of the 
actual exercise of it has ever yet occurred since the 
organization of our church. That cases might occur, 
and that facts might take place or come to light, even 
after the election of individuals for orders, in which it 
would be the conscientious duty of a bishop to suspend 
proceeding in the ordination, there can be few persons 
so unreasonable as not to admit. And how the claim 
of this right to " suspend" an ordination in such a case 
can be represented as censurable on the part of the 
bishops, as it has been by a late writer, we do not un- 
derstand. It is, in fact, expressly required of them by 
the Discipline — " If any crime or impediment be ob- 
jected, the bishop shall surcease from ordaining that 
person, until such time as the party accused shall be 
found clear of the crime." — See the form of ordaining 
both deacons and elders. 

The late Rev. John Dickens, in his remarks on the 
proceedings of Mr. Hammett, says, in relation to the 
superiority of our bishops, as derived not from their 
" separate ordination," but from the suffrages of the 
body of ministers, — " Pray, when was it otherwise ?" — 
and " how can the conference have power to remove 
Mr. Asbury and ordain another to fill his place, if they 
see it necessary, on any other ground ?" Mr. Hammett 


had said, " Let your superintendents know therefore, — 
that their superiority is derived from your suffrages, and 
not by virtue of a separate ordination. Gain and esta- 
blish this point, and you sap the foundation of all arbi- 
trary power in your church for ever." Mr. Dickens 
replies, " Now who ever said the superiority of the 
bishops was by virtue of a separate ordination? If 
this gave them their superiority, how came they to be 
removable by the conference 1 If then what you there 
plead for will sap the foundation of all arbitrary power, 
it has been sapped in our connection from the first esta- 
blishment of our constitution," p. 31. Again he remarks, 
p. 32, " We all know Mr. Asbury derived his official 
power from the conference, and therefore his office is 
at their disposal." " Mr. Asbury," he says in another 
place, " was thus chosen by the conference, both before 
and after he was ordained a bishop , and he is still con- 
sidered as the person of their choice, by being respon- 
sible to the conference, who have power to remove him, 
and fill his place with another, if they see it necessary 
And as he is liable every year to be removed, he may 
be considered as their annual choice," p. 15. The high 
standing of John Dickens is too well known to need 
any statement of it here. He was also the particular 
and most intimate friend of Bishop Asbury. And the 
pamphlet containing the above sentiments was published 
by the unanimous request of the conference held at Phi- 
ladelphia, Sept. 5, 1792 ; and may be therefore consi- 
dered as expressing the views both of that conference 
and of Bishop Asbury in relation to the true and origi- 
nal character of Methodist episcopacy. It may be con- 
fidently affirmed then, that the Methodist episcopacy, if 
preserved on its original basis, as it ever should be, has 
as little independent power as the episcopacy of any 
other episcopal church whatever. 


Section XIII. — Title Bishop. 

Episcopos, (Greek,) — episcopus, (Latin,) — a bishop, 
or overseer. The Hebrew paked, as the Greek epis- 
copos, whence the Anglo-Saxon bischop, and our 
English word bishop, — is any man that hath a charge 
and office for any business, civil or ecclesiastical. It is 
derived from em, (epi,) super, and ckottuv, {skopein,) inten- 
dere, superintended, to superintend. And hence superin- 
tendent, from the Latin, is of precisely the same import 
as bishop from the Greek. — " Inter npeapwcpov, tamen, et 
Etuokowov, hoc interest : npeapwepog nomen est ordinis : e™t- 
Konoe nomen in illo ordine officii." Between bishop and 
presbyter there is nevertheless this difference. Presby- 
ter is the name of an order. Bishop is the name of an 
office in that order. See Leigh's Critica Sacra. 

Originally, " the name Etu^o™," [episcopoi, bishops,] 
given " to the governors of the church under the gos- 
pel," was "a name importing duty more than honour; 
and not a title above presbyter " Irenicum, p. 286. 

We say then, with the Rev. Asa Shinn, that " intelli- 
gent Christians, before they either vindicate or vilify a 
simple name, will inquire.into its precise signification." 
We have done so with regard to our term bishop. And 
the inquiry conducts us to the conclusion, that it may 
be vindicated, but cannot be justly vilified. 

The following is the Rev. Nicholas Snethen's account 
of the introduction of the term bishop, in addressing our 

Mr. O'Kelly had asserted that " about the year 1787, 
Francis directed the preachers, whenever they wrote to 
him, to title him bishop." Mr. Snethen replies, that 
among Mr. Asbury's acquaintance the assertion suffi- 
ciently refutes itself, and that no one who has ever 
known the man can possibly give it credit for a moment ; 
and adds, 


" Some time after ordination was introduced among 
us, several of the ministers altered the inscription of 
their letters to each other from ' Mr.' to ' Rev ' Some 
were dissatisfied : they thought that it savoured more 
of pride than of piety ; others had more serious scru- 
ples, and even doubted whether it were not impious to 
address men in a style and title given to Jehovah him- 
self, as in Psalm cxi, 9 : ' Holy and reverend is his 
name.' In the conference for 1787, this was made a 
subject of conversation, for the sake of those of scrupu- 
lous consciences. The conference advised that every one 
should use his own choice , and that those who doubted 
the propriety of Reverend might give the simple name, 
with the official character, as bishop, elder, or deacon. It 
was not thought proper to expose this little circum- 
stance in print." Reply to James O'Kelly, pp. 10, 11. 

The same liberty still exists. No man is obliged to 
style our general superintendents bishops. Any that 
choose to retain the original title of superintendent are 
perfectly at liberty to do so, whether in writing or other- 
wise. By some the latter title is still most generally 
used ; and by most, if not by all of us, it is frequently 
used, without scruple, as synonymous with bishop ; and 
not only equally proper but equally respectful. Indeed, 
according to Mr. Sncthen's statement, the conference of 
1787 scorn to have considered the title bishop less ex- 
ceptionable to scrupulous consciences than that of 
Reverend; and advised the use of the former by those 
who scrupled the propriety of using the latter. Yet 
this title Reverend, we have not understood that Mr 
M'Caine himself has ever declined ; nor some other 
gentlemen of our modern days, who war with titles 
much less august. 

Mr. M'Caine, p. 42, quotes " a writer," who states that, 
" in 1786 Mr. Asbury proposed to Mr. Wesley three 
persons to be appointed bishops for the United States, 
to act under Mr. Asbury." Mr. Wesley's answer, he 


says, is worthy to be engraven in characters of gold. 
It was, he states, — " During my life there shall be no 
archbishops in the Methodist Church. But send me the 
man of your choice, and I shall have him appointed 
joint superintendent with you." Now, admitting this 
statement, we ask, in the name of common sense, if 
what we maintain is not here confessed : viz., that Mr. 
Wesley himself considered the term " superintendent" 
as synonymous with bishop? Why did he refuse to 
appoint a superintendent to act under Mr. Asbury ? Be- 
cause this would have been making Mr. Asbury an 
archbishop ; that is, a bishop over bishops. Of course 
the superintendent under him would have been a bishop. 
According to this statement, then, as ^^superintendent 
means archbishop, it necessarily follows, that "joint 
superintendent" means joint bishop, and superintendent 
simply bishop. 

The following extract of a letter from the late Rev. 
and venerable Wm. Watters, will shed farther light on 
this subject. 

" My Dear Brother, 

" That there should be those who through prejudice 
think the Methodists, since they have had bishops 
among them, are quite a different people, is not strange. 
But is it not strange that those who have known them 
from the beginning should admit such a thought, till 
they have investigated the matter thoroughly ? All must 
know that names do not alter the nature of things. We 
have from the beginning had one among us w T ho has 
superintended the whole work. At first this person was 
solely appointed by Mr. Wesley, and called the gene- 
ral assistant : at a time when there were none but Euro- 
pean preachers on the continent. But why was the 
name of general assistant ever changed ? All that will 
open their eyes may know why. The Methodists in 
England and in America formerly did not call them- 



selves a particular church ; but a religious society in 
connection with different churches, but mostly with the 
Episcopal Church. After the revolutionary war the 
Episcopal clergy became very scarce, and in far the 
greatest number of our societies we had no way of 
receiving the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's 
supper. It was this that led many of our preachers, as 
you well know, to take upon them the administration 
of the ordinances. Mr. Rankin, who was our first 
general assistant, after staying the time in this country 
he came for, returned home. This was at a time when 
we had no intercourse with England, and Mr. Asbury, 
the only old preacher that determined (in those perilous 
times) to give up his parents, country, and all his natu- 
ral connections, was finally and unanimously chosen 
by the preachers (assembled in conference) our general 
assistant. He continued such until the year 1784, when 
the doctor came over, and not only the name of gene- 
ral assistant was changed to that of superintendent, but 
we formed ourselves into a separate church. This 
change was proposed to us by Mr. Wesley, after we 
had craved his advice on the subject , but could not take 
effect till adopted by us ; which was done in a delibe- 
rate, formal manner, at a conference called for that 
purpose, in which there was not one dissenting voice. 
Every one of any discernment must see from Mr. Wes- 
ley's circular letter on this occasion, as well as from 
every part of our mode of church government, that we 
openly and avowedly declared ourselves episcopalians ; 
though the doctor and Mr. Asbury were called super 
intendents. After a few years the name, from superin- 
tendent, was changed to bishop. But from first to last, 
the business of general assistant, superintendent, or 
bishop has been the same ; only since we have become 
a distinct church, he has, with the assistance of two or 
three elders, ordained our ministers , whose business it 
is to preside in our conferences, and in case of an equal 



division on a question, he has the casting vote , but in 
no instance whatever has he a negative, as you are told. 
He has also the stationing of all the travelling preach- 
ers, under certain limitations , which power, as it is 
given him by the General Conference, so it can be 
lessened or taken from him at any time conference sees 
fit.* But while he superintends the whole work, he 
cannot interfere with the particular charge of any of the 
preachers in their stations. To see that the preachers 
fill their places with propriety, and to understand the 
state of every station or circuit, that he may the better 
make the appointment of the preachers is, no doubt, no 
small part of his duty ; but he has nothing to do with 
receiving, censuring, or excluding members ; this be- 
longs wholly to the stationed preacher and members." 
Memoirs, p. 103. 

Mr. M'Caine, p. 34, reproaches our fathers with enter- 
ing Mr. Wesley in the Minutes of 1789 as a " bishop," 
— ■" after it was known that the very term was so ex- 
tremely offensive to him." This is not correct. They 
did enter him as exercising " the episcopal office." But 
they did not entitle him "bishop." The former was 
not offensive to him. He well knew the distinction be- 
tween the title and the office. The latter he did exer- 
cise, and asserted his right to exercise it. And we have 
already shown, from the extract of Dr. Coke's Journals, 
that the statement of his having been so entered in the 
American Minutes was published in England in Mr. 
Wesley's lifetime, and dedicated to himself. This gave 
him no offence. On the contrary, when pressed con- 
cerning his " acting as a bishop," he did not deny, but 
justified it, and answered, " I firmly believe that I am a 

* As our General Conferences were originally constituted, they possessed 
the power of our whole body of ministers. Whenever the powers of the 
present delegated General Conference are spoken of in this work, it is of 
course to be understood agreeably to the principles of the restrictive limit- 


Scriptural episcopos, as much as any man in England 
or in Europe. For the uninterrupted succession I know 
to be a fable, which no man ever did or can prove." 

Letter to the Rev. on the Church. Works, vol. 

xvi, English edition. 

Section XIV. — Organization of the Methodist Episco- 
pal Church. 

Our argument has hitherto been conducted on the 
ground that Mr. Wesley did institute, and did intend to 
institute, under the title of superintendents, an episco- 
pacy for the American Methodists ; and that by Dr. 
Coke, Mr. Asbury, and our fathers, it was so, honestly 
and in good faith, understood. And in this we are well 
satisfied that the candid and intelligent reader will agree. 

But leaving out of view, for argument's sake, the re- 
commendation of Mr. Wesley altogether, we are still 
prepared, in the circumstances which then existed, to 
defend the organization of the Methodist Episcopal 

Had Mr. Asbury been actuated by the dishonourable 
motives of ambition and self-aggrandizement imputed to 
him, how easy had it been for him to have accomplished 
his purpose, and to have organized a church in Ame- 
rica, with himself at its head, independently of Mr. Wes- 
ley and of the whole European connection. And what 
plausible pretext or occasion did he want? Early in 
the revolutionary struggle every other English preacher 
had fled. He alone, through the contest, devoted him- 
self to American Methodism, at the risk and hazard of 
every thing dear. Mr. Wesley himself had openly and 
publicly espoused the royal cause against the colonies. 
This greatly embarrassed the American Methodists, and 


especially the preachers, who were watched, and hunted, 
and imprisoned, and beaten, as his emissaries ; and, 
through him, as the disguised emissaries of Great Britain. 
The societies, except in very few instances, were desti- 
tute of the sacraments. They could neither obtain bap- 
tism for their children, nor the Lord's supper for them- 
selves. On this account, as early as 1778, Mr. Asbury 
was earnestly importuned to take measures that the 
Methodists might enjoy the same privileges as other 
churches. He resisted the proposal. Yet so serious 
was the crisis, that a large number of the preachers, to 
satisfy the urgent necessities of the societies, chose from 
among themselves three senior brethren, who ordained 
others by the imposition of their hands. Among these 
were some of the ablest and most influential men then 
in the connection. Surely no man ever had a fairer or 
a more plausible opportunity than Mr. Asbury then had, 
to organize and to place himself at the head of the Me- 
thodist Church in America, independently of Mr. Wesley. 
Yet it was he who, with the late venerable Watters, 
Garrettson, and others, resolutely remained in connec- 
tion with Mr. Wesley ; and rested not till by his inde- 
fatigable labours the whole of the seceding body were 
brought back, to await and to abide by Mr. Wesley's 
advice. And this is the same man who, after his death, 
is now charged with the vilest dissimulation and hypo- 
crisy, and with violating the obligations both of" honour" 
and of "truth," for the sake of organizing a church, 
separate from and independent of Mr. Wesley, with 
himself at its head in conjunction with another ! 

Dr. Coke was appointed and set apart by Mr. Wesley, 
aided by other presbyters, as a general superintendent 
of the American Methodists. In that character he was 
unanimously received by the American conference, and 
with their consent was to exercise episcopal powers 
among them, and to act as a bishop, though called a 


Mr. Asbury was unanimously chosen by the same 
conference, to be a general superintendent conjointly 
with Dr. Coke. He was first ordained deacon and 
elder, and then superintendent, agreeably to the unani- 
mous voice of the conference, by Dr. Coke, a presbyter 
of the Church of England, and Richard Whatcoat and 
Thomas Vasey, who had been previously ordained pres- 
byters by Mr. Wesley, Dr. Coke, and Mr. Creighton, 
presbyters of the Church of England ; with the assist- 
ance of Mr. Otterbine, a presbyter of the German Re- 
formed Church. 

The intention of the conference was, that Mr. Asbury 
also should exercise episcopal powers, and act as a 
bishop, though to be called a superintendent ; and the 
church was then, and thenceforth, called the Methodist 
Episcopal Church. 

Admitting the validity of ordination by presbyters, 
and that, in such an exigency, they may even ordain 
bishops, such as are contended for in these pages, as 
we have shown they may, on what ground is the Me- 
thodist episcopacy, thus understood, and thus instituted, 
in such circumstances to be pronounced " illegitimate," 
unlawful? It is true Mr. M'Caine persuades himself 
"that the impartial, intelligent, and pious of other deno- 
minations" will so pronounce it. And he has certainly 
done all in his power to induce them to do so ; and not 
only " the intelligent and pious" of other denominations, 
but the bigoted and prejudiced of every description, and 
especially the avowed enemies of the Methodist Church ; 
separatists, and such as have been expelled from her 
communion , the restless and dissatisfied within it ; and 
the enemies of Christianity in general. To such Mr. 
M'Caine's book has doubtless afforded a high gratifica- 
tion. But if there be any law, divine or human, prohi- 
biting or proscribing such an episcopacy, let it be pro- 
duced. Let the edict itself be shown, and let not any 
man think us impertinent if, in demanding the produc- 


tion of it, we require that the terms of the edict be very 
express and positive. 

If this matter be pressed still farther, we then insist 
that the unanimous election and appointing of the first 
Methodist bishops was of itself sufficient, in the circum- 
stances then existing, to constitute a valid episcopacy, 
according to the judgment of Archbishop Cranmer, and 
those divines who concurred with him, as stated by 
Stillingfleet. And let those who maintain that any other 
authority was indispensable to its legitimacy, produce 
their warrant. And let them remember beforehand that 
we are not to be governed by tradition. 

If it be objected that those proceedings took place 
among the preachers only, we answer • This was unde- 
niably in accordance with the original principle on 
which the Methodist societies had been gathered, and 
united by the preachers, who determined on what prin- 
ciples of discipline and of administration they would 
devote themselves to take charge of, to guide, and to 
serve those who, upon these principles, chose to place 
themselves under their care, and especially upon what 
principles they could feel themselves at liberty to admi- 
nister to them the ordinances. 

If there were any law of God or man making this 
" illegitimate," unlawful, on the part of the preachers, 
let this edict, also be produced. In the days of " the 
fathers' 1 and of the founders of Methodism, at all events, 
both in Europe and in America, we hazard the assertion 
that these were principles recognised and acquiesced in 
by the Methodist people also. That it necessarily fol- 
lows, however, from these premises, that any modifica- 
tion of this system in all after time, and in any change 
of circumstances, is absolutely precluded, is what we 
do not here mean to say. Nor is that a field into which 
our present subject requires us at all to enter. 

But leaving out of view, for the present, any circum- 
stances which might be collected of the divine appro- 


bation of the proceedings of the conference of 1784, 
from the great and signal blessings which followed upon 
the labours of the preachers, and the special prosperity 
of the work from that time, we will conclude this part 
of our subject with an argument which, with some of 
our opponents, perhaps, may have more weight. 

We maintain, then, that the proceedings of that con- 
ference in organizing the " Methodist Episcopal Church," 
with general superintendents, vested with episcopal 
powers, and intended to act as bishops, were in fact, if 
not inform, approved and sanctioned by the people, the 
Methodist people, of that day And that the preachers 
set apart at that conference, in their appropriate and 
respective characters, as deacons, elders, and superin- 
tendents or bishops, were freely and cordially received 
and greeted by the people as such ; and the sacraments 
gladly accepted, as they had long been urgently de- 
manded, at their hands. Our proofs follow 

" The Methodists were pretty generally pleased at 
our becoming a church ; and heartily united together, in 
the plan which the conference had adopted. And from 
that time religion greatly revived." Lee's History, p. 107 

" 25th December, 1784. We became, instead of a reli- 
gious society, a separate church, under the name of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church. This change gave great 
satisfaction through all our societies." William Watters' 
Memoirs, by Himself, p. 102. 

u The conference met December, 1784. It was una- 
nimously agreed that circumstances made it expedient 
for the Methodist societies in America to become a sepa- 
rate body from the Church of England. They also 
resolved to take the title, and to be known in future by 
the name of The Methodist Episcopal Church. They 
made the episcopal office elective, — Mr. Asbury was 
unanimously elected, and Dr. Coke was also unani- 
mously received, jointly with him, to be the superintend- 
ents, or bishops, of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 


From that time the Methodist societies in the United 
States became an independent church, under the epis- 
copal mode and form of government. This step met 
with general approbation, both among the preachers and 
the members. Perhaps we shall seldom find such una- 
nimity of sentiment upon any question of such magni- 
tude." Rev. Ezekiel Cooper on Asbury, pp. 108, 109. 

Of those who were members of the church at that 
period, very few are now living. And of such as are, 
these are not they who now complain of that act. That 
those who have voluntarily united themselves to this 
church since, knowing it to be thus constituted , — and 
some perhaps who have left other churches to join it , 
— or boys of yesterday, who but a few days ago soli- 
cited admission into it, thus organized , — that these 
should now represent the government of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church as a tyrannical usurpation over them, 
is an abuse of language so gross that we marvel how 
men of common intellect or conscience can allow them- 
selves in it. 

The following is a copy of a letter from Mr. Wesley 
to Mr. Asbury, transcribed from the original. Its con- 
tents are in all respects highly interesting. But it is 
introduced here to show that, though written so recently 
after the organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
and at a period when Mr. Wesley could not but have 
known that event, it does not contain one syllable of 
censure or of disapprobation. It is dated, 

" Bristol, Sept. 30, 1785. 

" My Dear Brother, — It gives me pleasure to hear 
that God prospers your labours even in the barren soil 
of South Carolina. Near fifty years ago I preached in 
the church at Charleston, and in a few other places ; 
and deep attention sat on every face. But I am afraid 
few received any lasting impressions. 

" At the next conference it will be worth your while 


to consider deeply whether any preacher should stay in 
one place three years together. I startle at this. It is 
a vehement alteration in the Methodist discipline. We 
have no such custom in England, Scotland, or Ireland 

"I myself may perhaps have as much variety of matter 
as many of our preachers. Yet I am well assured, 
were I to preach three years together in one place, both 
the people and myself would grow as dead as stones. 
Indeed this is quite contrary to the whole economy of 
Methodism , God has always wrought among us by a 
constant change of preachers. 

" Newly awakened people should, if it were possible, 
be plentifully supplied with books. Hereby the awaken- 
ing is both continued and increased. 

" In two or three days I expect to be in London. I 
will then talk with Mr. Atlay on the head. Be all in 
earnest for God. 

" I am your affectionate friend and brother, 

" J. Wesley." 

Section XV. — Leaving Mr. Wesley's name off the 


The meaning of this phrase seems not to have been 
correctly understood. In some cases Mr. M'Caine as- 
serts that Mr. Wesley's name was left off in 1785, and 
then expresses surprise that he, notwithstanding, by 
his letter of September, 1786, attempted " to exercise 
his authority as formerly, by desiring that Mr. What- 
coat should be appointed a superintendent." In other 
places he represents this event as having taken place in 
1787 The confusion was in Mr. M'Caine's own mind, 
not in the subject. This is easily explained. 


In the Minutes of the conference of 1784, in answer 
to the second question it was said, " During the life of 
the Rev Mr. Wesley, we acknowledge ourselves his 
sons in the gospel, ready in matters belonging to church 
government to obey his commands." This minute re- 
mained unaltered till the conference of 1787 At that 
conference it was resolved to omit it. This act, and 
this only, is what is properly meant by leaving Mr. Wes- 
ley's name off the Minutes. 

With regard to that minute, the conference of 1787 
did not consider it in the ligdit of a contract with Mr. 
Wesley It had no such character. It w T as a mere 
voluntary declaration on the part of the conference of 
1784, and one which had neither been required of them, 
nor was unalterably binding on their successors ; who 
were as free to judge and act for themselves as their 
predecessors had been. If there was any thing impro- 
per in that business, Mr. Lee contends, it was in origi- 
nally adopting the minute, and not in rescinding it. 
History, p. 127 

The declaration of the conference of 1784 was, that 
" during the life of Mr. Wesley they were ready to obey 
his commands in matters belonging to church government. 
That it was not understood or intended, however, from 
the commencement of our organization as a church, that 
Mr. Wesley should thereafter personally appoint our 
church officers, is susceptible of clear proof. In the form 
for " the ordination of superintendents," prepared for 
us by Mr. Wesley himself, and " recommended" to us 
in the prayer book of 1784, are these words : " After 
the gospel and the sermon are ended, the elected person 
shall be presented by two elders unto the superintend- 
ent, saying," &c. Again, in the same form " Then 
the superintendent and elders present shall lay their 
hands upon the head of the elected person kneeling be- 
fore them," &c. These passages indisputably prove, 
that Mr. Wesley himself at that time contemplated the 


future election of our superintendents, and not that they 
were to be appointed by him. 

On this principle Mr. Asbury acted from the com- 
mencement. When the design of organizing the Me- 
thodists in America into an independent episcopal 
church was first opened to the preachers then present, 
by Dr. Coke and Mr. Whatcoat, at their first meeting at 
Barratt's chapel, in Delaware, on the 15th of November, 
1784, Mr. Asbury frankly declared, "If the preachers 
unanimously choose me, I shall not act in the capacity 
I have hitherto done by Mr. Wesley's appointment." 
Journal, vol. i, p. 376. This frank avowal, at that early 
period, is a full refutation of Mr. M'Caine's unworthy 
insinuation that Mr. Asbury hypocritically pretended 
subjection to Mr. Wesley's authority " at that juncture," 
lest by doing otherwise he should dash from his lips 
the cup of sweets. As soon as the plan was opened 
to him, and not long before his election or ordination, he 
explicitly stated that if placed in the office of superin- 
tendent it must be by the voice of his brethren. When 
the conference was convened he made the same decla- 
ration, and declined to serve on any other ground. Nor 
was he ordained, nor was Dr. Coke received as a super- 
intendent, until they were severally elected by the 
conference. This proves that the conference concurred 
in the same view. It is demonstrable that the confer- 
ence of 1784 could not have viewed this subject in any 
other light , for in the same Minutes, in answer to the 
twenty-sixth question, they expressly said, " N. B. No 
person shall be ordained a superintendent, elder, or dea- 
con, without the consent of a majority of the conference!'' 
In the case of Mr. Whatcoat, Mr. Lee says, " Most of 
the preachers objected, and would not consent." History, 
p. 126. This they certainly had a right to do, agreeably 
to the original Minutes. 

It will be observed farther, that the design of organ- 
izing the Methodists in America into " an independent 


episcopal church," was first opened by Dr. Coke to Mr. 
Asbury and the preachers present, in the presence of 
Richard Whatcoat. Now there is every reason to be- 
lieve that Mr. Whatcoat had a correct acquaintance 
with the intentions of Mr. Wesley : and when Dr. Coke 
stated the design of forming the Methodists in America 
into an " independent episcopal church," if Mr. What- 
coat knew that this was contrary to Mr. Wesley's inten- 
tions, it was his duty to express it. The universally 
admitted character of Mr. Whatcoat is a sufficient guaran- 
tee that he would have done so. A man of greater sim- 
plicity, guilelessness, and honesty, probably never lived. 
Mr. M'Caine must therefore involve Mr. Whatcoat also 
in the guilt of this knavish conspiracy, or else set him 
down as an ignorant tool. Yet Mr. Wesley, who knew 
him well, thought him not unworthy, two years after, to 
be recommended for the office of general superintend- 
ent. Such are the consequences continually involved in 
Mr. M'Caine's hypotheses. 

In a letter dated " London, September 6, 1786," ad- 
dressed to Dr. Coke, Mr. Wesley says, 

" Dear Sir, — I desire that you would appoint a 
General Conference of all our preachers in the United 
States, to meet at Baltimore on May the first, 1787. 
And that Mr. Richard Whatcoat may be appointed su- 
perintendent with Mr. Francis Asbury." 

The calling of this conference by Dr Coke, by the 
direction of Mr. Wesley, at a time and place unauthor- 
ized by any previous conference, was the first ground 
of dissatisfaction in the conference of 1787 The time 
fixed for it being much earlier than had been antici- 
pated, subjected many of the preachers to considerable 
inconvenience ; and some, in consequence of the de- 
rangement of their plans, did not attend at all. Among 
these were Ezekiel Cooper, and John M'Claskey, who 
then travelled in Jersey This proceeding was one of 
the chief causes which led to the signing of the instru- 


ment given by Dr. Coke at that conference, in which he 
promised not to exercise any government in the Method- 
ist Episcopal Church when absent from the United States. 
The subsequent part of Mr. Wesley's note does not 
seem to us at present, however it may have been in- 
tended, as an absolute appointment of Mr. Whatcoat. 
In one place, p. 43, Mr. M'Caine himself says, " It will 
be seen then that he does not ' appoint' Mr. Whatcoat 
a superintendent, but simply expresses a ' desire' that 
he ' may be appointed' one." Yet only one page before 
he expressly says, " Mr. Wesley accordingly appointed 
Mr. Whatcoat." So that, according to Mr. M'Caine, 
we have both assertions, — he did appoint him, and he 
did not. It is certain, however, that Dr. Coke con- 
tended that this letter of Mr. Wesley's was an appoint- 
ment of Mr. Whatcoat, and that the conference were 
therefore " obliged" to receive him, in consequence of 
the minute of 1784 to obey Mr. Wesley's commands in 
matters relating to church government. And had the 
conference considered themselves obliged, as Dr. Coke 
contended, to receive Mr. Whatcoat merely by virtue of 
Mr. Wesley's authority, they might have been equally re- 
quired by the same authority to submit to the recall of 
Mr. Asbury Considering it therefore as their right, agree- 
ably to the form of ordination, and to the rule adopted 
by the conference of 1784, to elect their superintend- 
ents ; and finding that the minute respecting obeying 
Mr. Wesley in matters belonging to church government, 
was likely to become a source of contention, and to be 
construed in a sense which the conference of 17S4 
never intended, so as to deprive them of that right, they 
resolved to rescind it; and accordingly did so. But 
this act did not in any degree proceed from want of per- 
sonal respect or regard for Mr. Wesley. At the very 
same time they addressed an affectionate letter to him, 
expressing their attachment, and their desire, if it were 
practicable, that he could visit them, and become per- 


sonally acquainted with their affairs. For they did not 
believe it possible for him, at the distance of three thou- 
sand miles, to judge as correctly respecting their super- 
intendents as they could who were on the spot. They 
did believe also that unjust representations of Mr. As- 
bury had been made to him, by some person or persons 
unfriendly to Mr. Asbury , and that, if they accepted of 
Mr. Whatcoat merely by his authority, in these circum- 
stances, it might probably lead to Mr. Asbury's recall. 
They therefore declined to receive Mr. Whatcoat. But 
it was the conference that declined, as Mr. Lee states, 
and not Mr. Asbury, as we shall now farther prove.* 

As Mr. M'Caine, on this subject, has only revived 
and new dressed the old charges of Mr. O'Kelly, — to 
refute them we have only to adopt the former refutation 
of Mr. O'Kelly by Mr. Snethen. 

Mr. O'Kelly had asserted, " Francis was opposed to 
a joint superintendent." — "For a refutation of this 
charge," says Mr. Snethen, " see the following testi- 
mony " — The certificates of Dr. Coke, of Philip Bruce, 
and of Mr. Whatcoat himself. 

" When Thomas Coke and Mr. Asbury met in Charles- 
ton, Thomas Coke informed him that Mr. Wesley had 

* One of Mr. M'Caine's unnamed authorities says, " About this time there 
was a great rumour in London concerning the strides taken by Mr. Asbury 
for the extent of power, and one elderly gentleman, the Rev. T. R.," [Thomas 
Rankin, we presume,] " said it would be right to recall a man of that ambitious 
turn. Mrs. Asbury" [the mother of Bishop Asbury] " heard of this saying, 
and intimated to her son she hoped to see him shortly in England." 

Mr. Snethen says also, " Mr. Asbury was the only English preacher that 
adopted the American country, and was determined to stand or fall with the 
cause of independence ; all the rest returned, and one at least was not very 
well affected toward him : and Mr. Asbury's intentions were questioned, and 
Mr. Wesley was advised to keep a watchful eye over the great water." 
Answer to J. O'Kelly's Vindication, page 18. 

It appears, too, from Mr. Snethen's account, that a preacher who was 
expelled in 1792 had been misrepresenting Mr. Asbury, and imposing on 
Mr. Wesley. Through his aid Mr. Hammett endeavoured to stab the cha- 
racter of Mr. Asbury. Mr. O'Kelly used the materials which they had pre- 
pared to his hand ; and Mr. M'Caine has availed himself of them all, with 
the addition of Mr. Kewley's productions, but without naming his authorities. 


appointed Richard Whatcoat as a joint superintendent, 
and Mr. Asbury acquiesced in the appointment, as did 
the Charleston conference when it was laid before them. 
Thomas Coke proposed the appointment to the Virginia 
conference, and, to his great pain and disappointment, 
James O'Kellj most strenuously opposed it ; but con- 
sented that the Baltimore conference might decide it, 
upon condition that the Virginia conference might send 
a deputy to explain their sentiments. 

"Jaw. 7, 1796. (Signed) Thomas Coke." 

" I perfectly remember that Mr. O'Kelly opposed the 
appointment of Mr. Whatcoat; and that Mr. Asbury 
said enough to him and me to convince us that he was 
not opposed to the appointment. 

" Norfolk, Nov. 30,1796. (Signed) Philip Bruce." 

" Mr. Asbury was not opposed to my being joint super- 
intendent with himself. After receiving Mr. Wesley's 
letter he wrote to me from Charleston upon the subject. 
As I have not the letter by me at present, I cannot give 
the contents verbatim : but, as well as I recollect, the 
conclusion was ' And if so, you must meet me at the 
Warm Springs, and we will make out a plan for your 
route through the continent. 

"(Signed) R. Whatcoat."* 

" How could he" (Mr. O'Kelly) says Mr. Snethen, 
" publish such an idea ? Had he forgotten the conversa- 
tion which passed between himself and Mr. Asburv, at 
Dick's Ferry, upon Dan River 1 in which Mr. Asburv 
told him it would be best to accept Richard Whatcoat." 

* Let the reader compare these certificates with the letter of the 3 1st of 
Oct., 1789, which Mr. M'Caine, p. 47, imputes to Mr. Wesley, in which it 
is stated'that Mr. Asbury " flatly refused to receive Mr. Whatcoat." From 
this comparison it is certain, either that Mr. Wesley never wrote that letter 
as it is given to us ; or if he did, that he had been imposed on by false 


Rev. N. Snethen's Reply to James 'Kelly's Apology, 
pp. 9, 10. 

We may add, also, that Mr. Snethen has as triumph- 
antly vindicated Mr. Asbury from " the smallest blame" 
in relation to the leaving of Mr. Wesley's name off the 
Minutes. Mr. O'Kelly had asserted that " Francis took 
with him a few chosen men, and in a clandestine 
manner expelled John, whose surname was Wesley, 
from the Methodist Episcopal Church." Mr. Snethen 

" Surely an author that will publish such a slander 
against an innocent man, is but little better than he who 
would be guilty of the charge. Mr. Asbury has given 
the compiler a particular detail of every circumstance 
relative to himself, that had the most remote relation to 
the leaving Mr. Wesley's name out of the American 
Minutes ; which makes it appear that Mr Asbury was 
not deserving of the smallest blame in the whole business ; 
and the compiler," Mr. Snethen, " is certain that Dr Coke 
and all the preachers then living, who were at that time 
members of the conference, were perfectly satisfied that 
Mr. Asbury was entirely innocent of the charge." Reply 
to Mr. O'Kelly's Apology, p. 12.* 

On the whole, viewing this subject with a candid and 
affectionate reverence for all parties, we do not say that 
a gentler and more conciliatory course on the part of 
that conference, in relation to Mr. Wesley personally, 
might not have been, perhaps, the more excellent way. 
But this is submitted with all our added light, and when 

* Since writing the above we have seen a statement from Mr. Snethen of 
the circumstances in which his publications respecting Mr. O'Kelly were 
compiled. — It does not appear, however, to require any alteration of what 
we have written. The facts and documents remain the same. We are 
well satisfied also that Mr. Snethen would never, even as a member of 
a committee, have published any thing which he did not himself believe. 
And we are equally satisfied that he always had, and still has, too high an 
opinion of Bishop Asbury's personal moral worth, to believe for a moment 
that he would have furnished either documents, or any statement of facts, 
even in his own defence, which he knew to be either forged or false. 



the excitements, the apprehensions, and the embarrass- 
ments of that day are wholly gone. Yet we do say, 
that had we lived in the days of "our fathers," it is 
highly probable that a majority of us would have felt, 
and judged, and acted, as a majority of them did , and 
very doubtful whether we, or their censors, would have 
done better. 

At one time, Mr. Wesley's name, to use the common 
phrase, was left off the American Minutes. At another, 
Dr Coke's was omitted in the English Minutes. And 
at yet another, (1778,) Mr. Asbury's name also was 
omitted in the American Minutes. In each case it was 
done from what were then deemed prudential con- 
siderations. With our present lights we may doubt, 
perhaps, the real necessity of either of them. Yet are 
■iv e prepared to assert, with confidence, what might, and 
would have been the effects, if these measures had not 
been adopted?* 

Mr. M'Caine is also displeased that, at the death of 
Mr. Wesley, no account was given of him in the Ameri- 
can Minutes. We wish this had been otherwise. But 
if he can believe that the omission resulted from " con- 

* Willi respect to the "rejecting of Mr. Wesley," or leaving his name 
oft" the Minutes, the following is Mr. Asbury's statement : — 

"I was amazed to hear that my dear aged friend, Benjamin Evans, (now 
'jone to glory,) was converted to the new side by being told by J. O'Kellv 
that I had offended Mr. "Wesley, and that he being about calling me to ac- 
count, I cast him off altogether. But, qucre, did not J. O'K. set aside the 
appointment of Richard Whatcoat? and did not the conference in Baltimore 
strike that minute out of our Discipline which was called a rejecting of Mr. 
Wesley ? and now does J. O'K. lay all the blame on mc. It is true, I never 
approved of that binding minute. I did not think it practical expediency to 
obey Mr. Wesley, at three thousand miles' distance, in all matters relative 
to church -government ; neither did Brother Whatcoat, nor several others. 
At the first General Conference I was mute and modest when it passed, and 
I was mute when it was expunged. For this Mr. Wesley blamed me, and 
was displeased that I did not rather reject the whole connection, or leave 
them, if they did not comply. But I could not give up the connection so 
easily, after labouring and suffering so many years with and for them." 
Journal, vol. ii, p. 270. 



tempt" of Mr. Wesley, we must leave him to enjoy his 
opinion. The adoption of such a sentiment requires a 
strong predisposition and desire to believe it.* 

The truth seems to be, that, as the deaths of Ameri- 
can preachers are not mentioned in the British Minutes, 
so the deaths of the European preachers are not men- 
tioned in the American Minutes ; although, in a general 
sense, we are all regarded as one body. In the case of 
Mr. Wesley an exception to this general mode of pro- 
ceeding might doubtless have been made with great 
propriety. But that not a particle of any thing like 
" cold neglect" or " contempt" of Mr. Wesley had place 
in the mind of Mr. Asbury on that occasion, we have 
the explicit testimony of Mr. Moore. Even on receiving 
from Mr. Wesley the letter of Sept., 1788, Mr. Moore 
says, "Mr. Asbury lost none of his veneration for his 
father in the gospel," Mr. Wesley and as a proof of 
this he cites the entry which Mr. Asbury made in his 
journal, on the occasion of the death " of that dear man 
of God ;" in which, after expressing himself in the high- 
est terms of Mr. Wesley's character and attainments, 
Mr. Asbury adds : "I conclude his equal is not to be 
found among all the sons he hath brought up, nor his 
superior among all the sons of Adam." Life of Wesley, 
vol. ii, p. 286. With what face, after this, can Mr. As- 
bury, at least, -be involved in the insinuation of treating 
the memory of Mr. Wesley with " cold neglect, if not 
contempt V 

Even in the British Minutes the notice of Mr. Wes- 
ley's death was extremely short : for the conference 
declared that they found themselves " utterly inadequate 
to express their ideas and feelings on that awful and 
affecting event." 

* When the great Fletcher died, the account of him in the English Mi- 
nutes was contained in one line and a quarter. That line and a quarter, 
however, from the pen of Mr. Wesley, expressed, we confess, as much as 
some of our modern pages. 


That Mr. Wesley before his death became satisfied 
of the continued affection and attachment of the Ame- 
rican Methodists, appears from his correspondence. 

In a letter to the Rev. Ezekiel Cooper, written only 
twenty-nine days before his death, after mentioning his 
growing infirmities, he says, " Probably I should not be 
able to do so much, did not many of you assist me by 
your prayers. See that you never give place to one 
thought of separating from your brethren in Europe. 
Lose no opportunity of declaring to all men that the 
Methodists are one people in all the world, and that it 
is their full determination so to continue, 

'Though mountains rise, and oceans roll, 
To sever us in vain,' " 

This proves that he did not then consider us as sepa- 
rated from himself, or from our European brethren. 

The same sentiment has been since officially avowed 
both by the British and American conferences. The 
credentials furnished by our brethren in Europe, either 
to their ministers or members, are recognised and 
honoured by us here, as entitling them to every privi- 
lege of our church. The credentials which we furnish 
are also acknowledged by them. And of late years the 
two connections have mutually exchanged delegates, as 
the representatives of each other, in our respective con- 
ferences. Of this state of unity and affection every 
friend of this great work will cordially say — May it be 

* On the proceedings of the conference of 1787, Dr. Coke in his Journal 
of that date remarks, — 

" Never surely was more external peace and liberty enjoyed by the church 
of God, or any part of it, since the fall of man, than we enjoy in America : 
and every thing seems to be falling before the power of the word. What 
then remained for the infernal serpent, but to sow the seeds of schism and 
division among ourselves 1 But, glory be to God, yea, glory for ever be 
ascribed to his sacred name, the devil was completely defeated. Our pain- 
ful contests, I trust, have produced the most indissoluble union between my 
brethren and me. We thoroughly perceived the mutual purity of each 
other's intentions in respect to the points in dispute. We mutually yielded. 


Section XVI. — Mr. M'Caine' s Arithmetical 

Mr. M'Caine states, page 65, that the "appeal" 
proposed by Mr. O'Kelly in the conference of 1792 
" was the origin and cause of a secession from the Me- 
thodist Episcopal Church, of such great extent, that in 
less than five years the Minutes of Conference exhibit 
a decrease of 20,000 members." 

Now how does he make this out ? The conference 
at which Mr. O'Kelly proposed his appeal was in No- 
vember, 1792. The first return of numbers thereafter 
was in 1793. The total number of members, white and 
coloured, on the face of the Minutes then was 67,643. 
In 1798, five years afterward, the total number was 
60,169 , making a decrease of only 7,474. Or, if we 
take it in 1797, four years from 1793, the total number 
then was 58,663 , making a decrease of 8,980. If we 
make the calculations from 1792, the decrease, accord- 
ing to the Minutes, in 1796 was 9,316, and in 1797 it 
was 7,317. 

But did not Mr. M'Caine, in order to show so large a 
decrease, go back to 1791 1 If he did, why did he do 
so ? In 1792 the aggregate numbers on the face of the 
Minutes was 65,980 ; and it was subsequently to that 
return that the General Conference of 1792, at which 
Mr. O'Kelly proposed his appeal, was held. Of course, 
the numbers as returned for 1791 could not justly be 
made the starting place for this calculation. Besides, 
from 1791 to 1792 there was in reality an increase of 
more than 2,000 members ; which farther shows the 

and mutually submitted ; and the silken cords of love and affection were tied 
to the horns of the altar for ever and ever." 

We shall be most truly rejoiced to find that as much purity of intention, 
and sincerity of affection, and of " the wisdom that is from above," exists 
among us at the present day, as actuated the hearts of our excellent 
" fathers." 


impropriety of beginning the calculation of a decrease 
from 1791. It happens, however, that in 1791 the face 
of the Minutes exhibits so very large an aggregate that 
it suited Mr. M'Caine's purpose excellently well to begin 
his calculation from that date. But in that aggregate, 
as exhibited by the Minutes, did Mr. M'Caine discover no 
mistake ? If he did not, his examination was extremely 
superficial. If he did, it was a great want of candour, 
and great injustice to his readers, not to state it. On 
either ground we submit whether this specimen affords 
us any very great encouragement to rely implicitly 
on Mr. M'Caine's diligent investigation, and accurate 
report of documents? Whoever will examine the Mi- 
nutes of 1791 will find that there is an error in the 
aggregate of the numbers stated for that year of between 
twelve and thirteen thousand too many. The whole num- 
ber, of both whites and coloured, is first given at the 
foot of the column headed " Whites ;" and then the num- 
ber of the coloured is given besides, which makes an 
error equal to the whole number of the coloured mem- 
bers, which must be deducted from the total aggregate 
of the two columns, to ascertain the true aggregate. 

In this calculation Mr. M'Caine is the more inexcusa- 
ble, as he had before him Mr. Lee's History, in which 
the increase and decrease are regularly stated from yeai 
to year. This might have led any careful investigator 
to an easy discovery of the error in the Minutes. In 
1794 the first decrease took place that had occurred for 
fourteen years. The largest decrease was in 1795. In 
1796 there was still a decrease. But in 1797 there 
was again an increase, nearly 2,000 having been added 
to the numbers. 

In the simple addition and subtraction of figures, we 
should have supposed that Mr. M'Caine would have 
been peculiarly accurate. And if he has so palpably 
erred in a case so plain, and so perfectly susceptible of 
investigation and correction, it can be no want of charity 


to believe that he may have equally erred in matters 
much more difficult and intricate, in which he has be- 
wildered himself in the mazes of " mystery," where the 
certain science of mathematics could afford no aid. 

But we have a few other cases of arithmetical logic 
to propose in bar of Mr. M'Caine's. If the " decrease" 
stated by Mr. M'Caine, and the " secessions since that 
period in different parts of the United States," be a fair 
argument against our " episcopal form of church govern- 
ment," are the increase and the accessions since no argu- 
ment in its favour ? We put then the following cases 
for Mr. M'Caine's calculation. 

In the year 1784, when the Methodist Episcopal 
Church was first organized, the number of members in 
our societies was 14,988. In forty-three years, under 
our episcopal form of church government, the increase 
has been 367,009 ; the total number of members now 
being 381,997. 

In less than five years, at one period, Mr. M'Caine 
says there was a decrease of 20,000 members ; though 
the true decrease, during that period, was not half that 
number. In one year (1827) we have had an increase 
of 21,197 

The secession which caused the decrease which Mr. 
M'Caine names, soon came to naught : and scarcely a 
wreck or a vestige of it now remains , while Episcopal 
Methodism, from which that secession drew off, has 
been graciously and divinely prospered, to an extent 
even beyond the anticipations of its most sanguine and 
devoted friends. Now the answer required is, taking 
all these cases together, what is the sum of the arith- 
metical argument ; — on which side is the true balance ; 
and to what amount ? 


Section XVII. — The Address to General Washington. 

Of all Mr. M'Caine's book, those parts which respect 
the address to General Washington are the most extra- 
ordinary. " It is evident," he asserts, p. 46, " that the 
date of this address was altered." That he does not in 
direct terms charge Mr. Asbury with the alteration, and 
for the base purposes named, as we have before shown, 
cannot excuse him. The implication is too clear to be 
mistaken. If a false date were forged, and imposed on 
the public, Mr. Asbury could not have been innocent. 
He could not have been ignorant of the truth in the 
case, nor of his duty respecting it. We have therefore 
examined this subject minutely , and the result has 
amply repaid our pains.* 

Mr. Drew does not give the address itself, nor state 
expressly what its precise date was. He seems, indeed, 
to have been left in peculiar embarrassment with regard 
to dates, in consequence of the death of Dr. Coke at 
sea, before he had arranged his papers in chronological 
order, for his anticipated biographer, as he had intended. 
This is intimated in Mr. Drew's dedication. Admitting, 
however, from the course of his narrative, that it was 

*Mr. M'Caine asserts also, pp. 37 and 38, that the Minutes of Confer- 
ence " were altered" — " to make them quadrate with subsequent proceed- 
ings." In proof of this, and showing the application to Mr. Asbury, he 
refers to Lee's History. Now Mr. Lee says, " In the course of this year" 
[1787] " Mr. Asbury reprinted the General Minutes, but in a different form 
from what they were before," p. 127 The Minutes had been printed before 
in one general body of consecutive questions and answers. Mr. Asbury 
" methodized and arranged them under proper heads." So also Mr. Lee 
says in another place, p. 68, " The form of the Annual Minutes was changed 
this year" [1779] " in a few points ; and the first question stands thus, ' Who 
are admitted on trial V The first question used to be, ' Who are admitted 
into connection V " It is evident, therefore, that Mr. Lee had reference 
simply to the form in which the Minutes were methodized and printed. And 
has not their form been repeatedly altered since ] Has it not been altered, 
and, as some think, improved, several times within the last few years? If 
this be deemed any crime, those considered guilty would be much obliged 
if the accusation may be made in their lifetime, that they may have an oppor- 
tunity to answer for themselves. 


his impression that the address was presented in 1785, 
this mistake can be much more readily excused in Mr. 
Drew than in Mr. M'Caine. Mr. Drew was a foreigner, 
writing in a foreign country Mr. M'Caine was here on 
the spot, writing in reference to prominent and well- 
known events in our history, and where the most ample 
and accurate sources of information were perfectly open 
to him. The two dates, 1785 and 1789, were both before 
him. Both were subjected to his deliberate investiga- 
tion. He chose that of 1785 ; and went so far as to 
charge that of 1789 with being an " altered" date, and 
consequently forged. Nothing could be more delibe- 
rate, and at the same time more grossly erroneous. Any 
former publisher might have overlooked an error in the 
narrative, as a court in the ordinary routine of business, 
without investigation or argument, or having the atten- 
tion directed to the points of a case. But Mr. M'Caine's 
error is that of a court solemnly deliberating, hearing 
the arguments of counsel, taking time to advise, and 
then pronouncing a most glaringly unfounded and inju- 
rious decision, against all evidence and reason, and all 
justice and truth. 

Mr. M'Caine repeatedly states that the address was 
made to General Washington, " President of the Ame- 
rican congress." He does this not only when quoting 
Mr. Drew, but when he has no reference to Mr. Drew 
See particularly page 62. Now did he not know, or 
ought he not to have known, that General Washington 
never was president of the American congress ? and that 
in 1785 he was in no official situation whatever, but a 
mere private citizen attending to his farms. In fact 
Washington was a private citizen during the whole 
period from the resignation of his command of the Ame- 
rican armies in 1783, till his election to the presidency 
in 1789 ; except only during the few months in which 
he was a member and president of the convention for 
the formation of the constitution of the United States, 


in 1787 These facts and dates are contained in our 
common school books. 

Mr. M'Caine, however, did know that Washington 
was not president of the United States till after the adop- 
tion of the constitution in 1788. This he states, p. 46. 
Why then, in the name of consistency, did he still insist 
that the true date of the address was in 1785? Do not 
both the address and the answer contain perfect inter- 
nal evidence that their proper date must have been after 
the adoption of the constitution, and the election of 
General Washington to the presidency? Unless we 
admit this, we must allege a forgery not only in the 
date, but in the body and matter both of the address and 
answer. The address commences thus — 

"To the President of the United States." It then pro- 
ceeds to express the congratulations of the bishops on 
the general's " appointment to the presidentship of these 
States." And in the ensuing paragraph, their most 
grateful satisfaction at his course respecting " the most 
excellent constitution of these States." 

The president in his reply returns his thanks for their 
demonstrations of affection, and expressions of joy " on 
his late appointment." Now can any one tell what 
" late appointment" General Washington had received 
in 1785 ? or how any sense can be made out of this 
whole business, if its date be fixed at any time anterior 
to 1789? 

But we will not detain the reader longer with reason- 
ing on the subject, though our reasoning alone would 
be conclusive. We will present him with the evidence 
of documents which shall put this matter to rest. The 
following is an 

Extract of a Letter from the Rev. Thomas Morrell, 
to the Rev. Ezekiel Cooper, dated, " Elizabethtown, 
N. J., Aug. 26, 1827." 

" With regard to the information you request concern- 
ing the address to General Washington, I can furnish 


you with every material circumstance respecting it, 
having acted as a sub-agent in the transaction, and 
having a distinct recollection of the whole business. 
The history of it is, That Mr. Asbury, in the New- York 
conference in 1789, offered for the consideration of the 
conference the following proposal - — Whether it would 
not be proper for us, as a church, to present a congra- 
tulatory address to General Washington, who had been 
lately inaugurated president of the United States, in 
which should be embodied our approbation of the con- 
stitution, and professing our allegiance to the govern- 
ment. The conference unanimously approved, and 
warmly recommended the measure ; and appointed the 
two bishops, Dr. Coke and Mr. Asbury, to draw up the 
address. It was finished that day, and read to the con- 
ference, who evinced great satisfaction in its recital. 
Brother Dickens and myself were delegated to wait on 
the president with a copy of the address, and request 
him to appoint a day and hour when he would receive 
the bishops, one of whom was to read it to him, and 
receive his answer. It was concluded that although 
Dr. Coke was the senior bishop, yet not being an Ame- 
rican citizen, there would be an impropriety in his pre- 
senting and reading the address ; the duty devolved of 
course on Bishop Asbury Mr. Dickens and myself 
waited on the general, and as I had some personal 
acquaintance with him, I was desired to present him 
with the copy, and request his reception of the ori- 
ginal by the hands of the bishops. The president 
appointed the fourth succeeding day, at twelve o'clock, 
to receive the bishops. They went at the appointed 
hour, accompanied by Brother Dickens and Thomas 
Morrell. Mr. Asbury, with great self-possession, read 
the address in an impressive manner. The president 
read his reply with fluency and animation. They in- 
terchanged their respective addresses ; and, after sitting 
a few minutes, we departed. The address and the 


answer, in a few days were inserted in the public prints ; 
and some of the ministers and members of the other 
churches appeared dissatisfied that the Methodists should 
take the lead. In a few days the other denominations 
successively followed our example. 

" The next week a number of questions were pub- 
lished, in the public papers, concerning Dr. Coke's sign- 
ing the address. Who was he 1 How came he to be 
a bishop ? Who consecrated him, &c, accompanied 
with severe strictures on the impropriety of a British 
subject signing an address approving of the government 
of the United States , charging him with duplicity, and 
that he was an enemy to the independence of America ; 
for they affirmed he had written, during our revolution- 
ary war, an inflammatory address to the people of Great 
Britain, condemning, in bitter language, our efforts to 
obtain our independence ; and other charges tending to 
depreciate the doctor's character, and bringing him into 
contempt with the people of our country As I did not 
believe the assertion of the doctor's writing the address 
above-mentioned, I applied to a gentleman who was in 
England at the time, to know the truth of the charge ; 
he assured me the doctor had published no such senti- 
ments in England during the revolutionary war, or at 
any other period, or he should have certainly had some 
knowledge of it. And this was the fact, for the doctor 
had written no such thing. As there was no other per- 
son in New- York, at that time, in our connection, who 
could meet these charges, and satisfactorily answer 
these queries, I undertook the task, and in my weak 
manner endeavoured to rebut the charges and answer 
the questions. A second piece appeared, and a second 
answer was promptly published. No more was written 
on the subject in New-York. The doctor afterward 
gave me his thanks for defending his character. 

" Such are the material circumstances that occurred 
concerning the address to General Washington, and his 


reply : which you are at liberty to make use of in any 
way you think proper, — and if you judge it necessary 
may put my name to it. 

"Thomas Morrell." 

I certify that the above is a true extract of an original 

letter of the Rev. Thomas Morrell, addressed to me, 

bearing the above date, and now in my possession. 

Ezekiel Cooper. 
New-York, September 7, 1827. 

To this we add the following copy of a letter from the 
Rev. Mr. Sparks, of Boston, to whom the papers of 
General Washington have been intrusted, for the pur- 
pose of making such selections for publication as he 
shall deem proper ; in which important work this gen- 
tleman is now engaged. And for this polite and prompt 
reply to our inquiries, we here tender to Mr. Sparks 
our most respectful thanks. 

'•' Boston, September 1, 1827 
" Dear Sir, — Your favour of the 26th ultimo has 
been received, and I am happy to be able to furnish 
you with the information you desire. The ' date 1 of 
the address presented by Bishops Coke and Asbury to 
General Washington is May twenty -ninth, 1789. It is 
proper to inform you, however, that I do not find the 
original paper on the files, but take the date as it is re- 
corded in one of the volumes of ' Addresses.' It is 
barely possible that there may be a mistake in the 
record, but not at all probable. 

" It is not likely that any address from any quarter 
was presented to Washington in 1785. I have never 
seen any of that year. He was then a private man, 
wholly employed with his farms. 

" I am, sir, very respectfully, 

"Your obedient servant, 
Mr. J. Emory. " Jared Sparks." 


1 o complete this investigation, we have examined the 
newspapers published in this city (New- York) in 1789, 
of which files are preserved in the New- York Library. 
The address of Dr. Coke and Mr. Asbury was published 
in the Gazette of the United States, on the 3d of June, 
1789 , and is dated May 29, of that year ; exactly cor- 
responding with the date stated by Mr. Sparks, from 
the Washington records. The same address may be 
found in the Arminian Magazine for June, 1789, pub- 
lished in Philadelphia by John Dickens. It is there 
dated May 19, 1789. This seems either to have been 
a typographical error of 19 for 29 ; or, probably, the 
original draught of an address was prepared about the 
19th, — and this date, then put to it, was inadvertently 
left uncorrected when placed in the hands of the printer. 
This difference of a few days, however, cannot now be 
of any possible moment, as it is placed beyond all dis- 
pute, that the true date of the address, as presented to 
Washington, was May 29, 1789.* 

The visit of Dr. Coke and Mr. Asbury to General 
Washington, at Mount Vernon, in 1785, was merely to 
solicit his influence in favour of a petition which they had 
it in contemplation to present to the general assembly 
of Virginia on the subject of slavery. They dined with 
the general, and had a personal interview on the subject, 
but made no particular address. A circumstantial ac- 
count of that visit, and the politeness with which the 
general received them, may be seen in Dr. Coke's 
journal of May, 1785.t 

* At the British conference in 1820 nn address was adopted on the oc- 
casion of the death of George III., and the accession of George IV to the 
throne of Great Britain. The original draught of that address was pre- 
pared by Dr. Adam Clarke previously to the conference. It was read by 
him and submitted to the conference on the first day of the session, and 
dated on that day, though not finally acted on till some days after, nor pre- 
sented till still later. 

t In the account which Mr. Drew gives of Dr. Coke's and Mr. Asbury's 
address to General Washington, he states that "various addresses" of other 
denominations about the same time found their way into the American news- 


Since writing the above, we have received a letter 
rom the Rev. Ezekiel Cooper ; of which the following 
5 an extract : — 

" Trenton, N. J., Oct. 16, 1827. 
" Rev. John Emory, 

" Dear Sir, — I have a book, now lying before me, 
entitled, ' A Collection of the Speeches of the President 
of the United States to both Houses of Congress at the 
opening of everij Session, with their Answers. — Also, the 
Addresses to the President, with his Answers, from the 
time of his Election. Printed at Boston, by Manning & 
Loring, for Solomon Cotton, 1796.' In which book, at 
pages 133, 134, is the address of the bishops of the Me- 
thodist Episcopal Church to the president, and his 
answer. The address is dated New- York, May 29, 
1789. This agrees with the information you have 
from Mr. Jared Sparks, as to the time when the address 
was presented. 

" It is now to be hoped that neither the author of the 
History and Mystery of Methodist Episcopacy, nor his 
friends or advocates, will be so bold, I am almost ready 
to say so presumptuous, as to believe the reproachful 
or slanderous charge of altering the date of the said 
address, to answer some unworthy and falsely supposed 
purpose. For in so doing, it will implicate Washing- 
ton himself, who has left it on record among his papers, 

papers, and across the Atlantic ; among which, none so much attracted the 
attention of the English Methodists as that which bore the signature of Dr. 
Coke and Mr. Asbury. — Life of Dr. Coke, pp. 147, 148. Of these other 
addresses, that of the Presbyterian Church was dated May 26, 1789, and 
presented June 5; — of the German Reformed, June 10, 1789; — of the 
Protestant Episcopal Church, dated August 7, and presented August 19, 
1789. These were all published in the Gazette of the United States of 
that year. That of the Protestant Episcopal Church was also published in 
the New- York Daily Gazette. The president's answer to each of them 
bears no date ; except that to the Protestant Episcopal Church, as published 
in the Gazette of the United States, is dated August 19. But as published 
in the New- York Daily Gazette this also is not dated. And we believe the 
president did not usually date his answers to addresses at that period. 


that the said address was received by him May 29, 
1789. Also Mr. Sparks, who is in possession of Wash- 
ington's papers, and testifies, in the communication to 
you that it there stands dated May 29, 1789. And also 
the compiler or editor of the book before me, above-men- 
tioned, in which the address and answer are published, 
bearing the same date, May 29, 1789. Surely every- 
one must be fully convinced and satisfied of the false 
and unworthy charge. 

" The answers of Washington to the addresses are 
generally without date : scarcely an instance of date. 
Some of the addresses and answers are both without 

" As to the difference of the date of Bishops Coke 
and Asbury's address, as published in the Arminian 
Magazine, May 19, and as published in the above-men- 
tioned book, &c, May 29, it might have been a typo- 
graphical error, otherwise the original draught might 
have been written in Philadelphia, where the conference 
sat the 18th of May — and the conference sat in New- 
York the 2Sth. At New- York they probably dated it 
the 29th, and Brother Dickens might have printed from 
the draught made in Philadelphia, dated the 19th. The 
Magazine was published in Philadelphia. 

"Yours, &c, 

"Ezekiel Cooper."* 

* We take pleasure in adding, that having had frequent interviews with 
Mr. Cooper, and free conversations on the subjects of this work, we believe 
we are warranted in saying that he concurs in our views. To this intelli- 
gent and able man, one of the most aged of our itinerant ministry now livinc, 
we here also tender our thanks for several interesting facts derived from the 
treasures of his well-stored memory ; and also from some private manuscript 
notes of his own. The concurrence of Mr. Cooper on the topics here dis- 
cussed is the more valued, as all who are acquainted with him know that, 
as no man among us is more capable of forming a correct judgment respect- 
ing them, or has paid more minute and constant attention to them, so no one 
is less disposed unduly to exalt the episcopacy, or would be more free and 
fearless to expose any imposition or fraud, if discovered. 


Section XVIII. — " History and Mystery" of 
Mr. M'Caine's Inconsistency. 

After all Mr. M'Caine's denunciations of the name 
of bishop, and of the episcopal office among us, he thus 
concludes, pp. 70-72. 

" Let the local ministers and the laity be represented 
in the legislative department of the church. On the 
other points which we have mentioned above, we place, 
comparatively, no stress. We are not tenacious of 
them. We are willing, if it should be thought best, to 
relinquish any, or all of them. But representation from 
the local ministry and laity, by the help of God, we will 
never relinquish." Now one of " the other points' 1 men- 
tioned above was, — " Let the name of bishop, and the 
episcopal office as it now exists among us, be put away 
for ever." Yet, founded in falsehood, in imposture, and 
in fraud, as he represents these to have been, and dis- 
graceful and contemptible almost beyond expression, he 
is nevertheless " not tenacious" of their being " put 
away," provided the laity and the local ministry, of 
whom he is one, may be admitted into a higher state 
of participation with this base concern ! Is Mr. M'Caine 
sincere 1 Does he really mean, after all he has said, 
that if admitted into the General Conference, he would 
not be " tenacious" of " doing away the name of bishop 
and the episcopal office, as it now exists among us" — or 
does he say this, lest by saying otherwise " at this junc- 
ture" he might " dash from" his " lips the cup of sweets ?"* 

* This part of Mr. M'Caine's work has been noticed by another writer, in 
the following' terms of strong rebuke : — " We must say, that if he believes all 
that he has written in the previous part of his book, and would be satisfied 
with this, he offers a base and disgraceful compromise. If we believed, as 
he asserts, that the government of the Methodist Episcopal Church origin- 
ated in falsehood, and has been perpetuated by fraud and forgery, we would 
disdain to make any compromise at all with the authors of it : we would be 
satisfied with nothing which did not go to overthrow the whole establish- 
ment, and wipe from the remembrance of all men, this foul blot on the charac- 
ter of Methodism." — Dr. T. E. Bond's Appeal. 



But a still more extraordinary " mystery'' of incon- 
sistency remains to be developed. Mr. M'Caine states 
in his piefaec, page 5, as one of the reasons for his pub- 
lication, that he thinks the " exposure" he has made 
" will tend much to lessen, if it will not totally over- 
come, the opposition of travelling preachers to repre- 
sentation." That is, to the representation of the local 
preachers and laity in the General Conference. 

Now the reader will please to observe, that for many 
years past, a large portion of the travelling preachers 
have been desirous to effect some diminution of the 
episcopal prerogative, by vesting in the annual confer- 
ences some voice in the selection of the presiding elders. 
This M~ M'Caine knew. Yet during the very period 
in which he was engaged in preparing his book, in 
order, it would seem, to " lessen, if not totally to over- 
come," episcopal opposition, too, to the representation 
of the local preachers, he made a communication, in a 
way to reach episcopal ears, that if he might take the 
liberty of expressing all his mind, the probability would 
be greater for the continuance of the exercise of this 
prerogative from a local representation than without it. 
And why 7 Because, in his opinion, affection and vene 
ration for episcopal men might, and no doubt would, 
lead a local representation to support a measure which 
they had no immediate and direct interest in opposing ! 
Thus, by " exposure" of episcopacy and of episcopal 
men, Mr. M'Caine exerts himself on one side, (" can- 
didly" too, he assures us,) to lessen, if not totally to 
overcome, the opposition of travelling preachers to the 
representation of local preachers. And, at the same 
time, on the other side, he endeavours to convince epis- 
copal men that the representation of local preachers 
will tend to confirm and to perpetuate their prerogative 
and this, too, not on the ground of reason or argument, 
but from the affection and veneration of the local preach- 
ers for episcopal men. So that, in the opinion of Mr. 



M'Caine this was the return which those said travelling- 
preachers would, "no doubt,''' receive from those same 
local brethren who had been labouring to induce them 
to assist the said local brethren to get into General 
Conference. On all this we shall leave the reader to 
make his own comments. The facts, we apprehend 
will not be denied. But if Mr. M'Caine's [opinion be 
correct, how it is calculated to " lessen, if not totally to 
overcome," opposition to the representation of local 
preachers, on the part of those travelling preachers, at 
least, who have been desirous of effecting some diminu- 
tion of this episcopal prerogative, is to us, we confess 
a " mystery." 

Section XIX. — Union Society of Baltimore ; Conclusion. 

Mr. M'Caine states, p. 4, that " the result of his in- 
vestigation was read before the Union Society of reform- 
ers in Baltimore, and the writer was requested to print 
it for the information of his brethren." Of what num- 
ber or persons the Union Society of Baltimore consists, 
we are not informed. Some of the individuals who com- 
pose it we know. And we are unwilling to believe that 
they could have deliberately and understandingly sanc- 
tioned and recommended such a publication. Our hope 
therefore is, either that the members of that society 
were not all present when Mr. M'Caine's manuscript 
was read , — or they did not hear the whole of it ; — or 
they did not all approve of it , — or they had not a fair 
opportunity of weighing and examining it, and have 
thought differently of it since it was printed . but if dis- 
appointed in all these hopes, then we persuade ourselves 
that they will at least give this defence a fair and candid 
consideration ; and if convinced that Mr. M'Caine has 


led them into error, that they will frankly and honour- 
ably declare it. 

Have the Union Society of Baltimore forgotten that 
the remains of Bishop Asbury were disinterred, and re- 
moved from Virginia, and deposited in their city, as a 
place peculiarly dear to him ? Have they forgotten the 
solemn rites with which, by the joint act of the General 
Conference, and of the Baltimore Society, they were 
placed under the pulpit of the Eutaw church, as in a 
sacred and chosen asylum, where his ashes might rest 
in honoured peace, under their affectionate and gene- 
rous protection ? With what feelings then could such 
of our brethren as may have sanctioned the publica- 
tion of Mr. M'Caine's book stand in that very pulpit, 
over those ashes, to preach to those whom they know 
to hold the name of that venerable man in so much 
filial love and reverence ? Can it be supposed that 
their hearers could avoid the association of the hook 
the preacher, and the injured "father V And could such 
an association be either agreeable or profitable ? Ought 
not the ashes of that father first to be taken up and 
given to the winds or be sent to the Potter's field, 
where strangers lie in peace ? Or at least be returned 
to their resting place in Virginia, whence they were 
solicited ? And will not a voice from his tomb be other- 
wise continually reproaching the Union Society of 
Baltimore ; or their proceeding be a standing reproach 
to him ?* 

* Since the above was prepared for the press, we have seen a publication 
in which it is stated that no vote of recoinmendation to publish Mr. M'Caine's 
work had passed the Union Society. This is stated on the authority of 
the president and secretary ; and it is added, that Mr. M'Caine also " declared 
that he had no allusion to a vote of the Union Society." We will not charge 
Mr. M'Caine with a design to mislead his readers, or to give currency to 
his book by representing it as sanctioned by the Union Society of Baltimore. 
Nor will we impute to the officers of that society the littleness of descending 
to the quibble that no such " vote" passed the society, if the work had been 
in any manner sanctioned by that body. But that such of Mr. M'Caine's 
readers as were not in the secret have understood him to allude to the Union 
Society before whom the result of his investigations was read, as requesting 


We have now performed in some respects a painful, 
in others a pleasurable task. The investigations to 
which it has led us have occupied our close and prayer- 
ful attention. If the result be as satisfactory to others 
as it has been to our own mind, the Methodist reader 
will continue to bless God that his name has been asso- 
ciated with those of Wesley, of Coke, and of Asbury ; 
and with the names of those excellent " fathers," through 
whose labours, and the "institutions received from" 
them, with the Divine blessing, the foundations were 
laid of that great work of God which has been spread 
over these lands. And with regard to our own Asbury, 
particularly, he will confidently and triumphantly con- 
clude, in the language of Mr. Snethen on the occasion 
of his death, — " Whatever of scandal may hereafter 
attach to us, neither we nor our children shall have to 
bear the reproach of crimes in our human leader. Few 
among those who have followed in the same track, 
have excelled him in any of the qualities which consti- 
tute a good man ; — in the union of them all none have 


him to print it, there can be no doubt. Indeed we do not see how any other 
rational construction can be put on the sentence : " The result of his investi- 
gation was read before the Union Society of reformers in Baltimore ; and the 
writer was requested to print it for the information of his brethren," page 4. 
If in this, however, we have been mistaken, and there be no " mystery" in 
this thing, then our remarks are to be applied, not to the society as such, 
but to the individuals concerned. 



No. I. 


Having received an extract from Dr. Coke's letter to the Rev. Ezekiel 
Cooper on this subject, but too late for insertion in the body of this work, we 
introduce it here. 

For two years or more, previously to 1792, Mr. O'Kelly had excited 
much disaffection in Virginia ; particularly in the important and extensive 
district over which he then presided. It was, indeed, a matter of contro- 
versy at that period, whether he and the preachers who adhered to him 
were in " the union," as he expressed it ; although his name was regularly 
continued on the Minutes as a presiding elder till 1792, when he withdrew. 
In 1792 our General Conferences were first established. Previously to that 
time we had none, except that of 1784. Dr. Coke was of opinion that some 
general and permanent bond of union was imperiously needed. Mr. Asbury 
was of the same opinion. The " council" was proposed as an expedient ; 
but not being found to answer the purpose it was discontinued, after only two 
sessions, in 1789 and 1790. In that measure Dr. Coke did not concur. 
The proceedings of Mr. O'Kelly produced great agitation. Special pains 
were taken to enlist Dr. Coke in his views, and to produce disaffection be- 
tween him and Bishop Asbury. Dr. Coke became alarmed for the safety 
of the connection ; and in that state of mind, without consulting his col- 
league, resolved to ascertain whether a union could be effected with the Pro- 
testant Episcopal Church, on such terms as he conceived would secure the 
integrity and the rights of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was also 
under an impression, as before stated, that such a junction would greatly en- 
large our field of action ; and that myriads would attend our ministry in con- 
sequence of it who were at that time much prejudiced against us. All these 
things, "unitedly considered," led him to write to Bishop White in 1791, 
and to meet him and Dr. Magaw in Philadelphia. This he state;> in his 
letter to Mr. Cooper. An extract of that letter is now before us. It is 
dated "Near Leeds, Yorkshire, Jan. 29, 1808;" and is in the form of an 
address to the General Conference. The correctness of the extract is cer- 
tified by Mr. Cooper, as taken by himself from the original, in Dr. Coke s 
hand-writing. In this letter, after adverting to the circumstances above 
named, and to the labour and fatigue with which, a short time before he 
wrote to Bishop White, he had prevailed on James O'Kelly and the preach- 
ers who adhered to him, to submit to the decision of a General Conference, 
Dr. Coke replies to the following question : " If he did not believe the epis- 
copal ordination of Mr. Asbury valid, why he had ordained him ]" To this, 
he says, " I answer : 

" 1. I never, since I could reason on those things, considered the doctrino 
of the uninterrupted apostolical succession of bishops as at all valid or true 


"2. I am of our late venerable father, Mr. Wesley's opinion, that the 
order of bishops and presbyters is one and the same. 

" 3. I believe that the episcopal form of church government is the best in 
the world, when the episcopal power is under due regulations and responsi- 

" i. I believe that it is well to follow the example of the primitive church, 
as exemplified in the word of God, by setting apart persons for great minis- 
terial purposes by the imposition of hands : but especially those who are 
appointed for offices of the first rank in the church. 

" From all I have advanced, you may easily perceive, my dear brethren, 
that I do not consider the imposition of hands on the one hand, as essentially 
necessary for anv office in the church; nor do I, on the other hand, think 
that the repetition of the imposition of hands for the same office, when im- 
portant circumstances require it, is at all improper. 

" If it be granted that my plan of union with the old Episcopal Church 
was desirable, {which now I think was not so, though I most sincerely be- 
lieved it to be so at that time,) then, if the plan could not have been accom- 
plished without a repetition of the imposition of hands for the same office, I 
did believe, and do now believe, and have no doubt, that the repetition of the 
imposition of hands would have been perfectly justifiable for the enlargement 
of the field of action, &c, and would not, by any means, have invalidated 
the former consecration or imposition of hands. 

" Therefore I have no doubt but my consecration of Bishop Asbury was 
perfectly valid, and would have been so even if he had been reconsecrated. 

" I never did apply to the General Convention, or any other convention, 
for reconsecrntion. I never intended that either Bishop Asbury or myself 
should give up our episcopal office, if the junction were to take place ! but I 
should have had no scruple then, nor should I now, if the junction ivcrc de- 
sirable, to have submitted to, or to submit to, a reimposition of hands, in 
order to accomplish a great object : but I do say again, I do not now believe 
such a junction desirable. 

" I have thus, simply and candidly, though in few words, told you my 
whole rnind on this subject. I do not consider my solemn engagements to 
you invalidated by any thing that I have done, or you have done. But I 
charge you by the glory of God, and by every tie of love, gratitude, and 
candour, that you take no step which may injure my character. And now 
I conclude with assuring you that I greatly love and esteem you ; that it is 
a delight to me to pray for your prosperity : and that I am, with unfeigned 
esteem, your very affectionate brother and faithful friend, 

"T. Coke." 

We hope, after this, to hear no more of Dr. Coke's " doubt" of the validity 
of his episcopal ordination, or of that of Bishop Asbury ; unless our modern 
race of writers can persuade us that they are better acquainted with the 
mind of Dr. Coke than he was himself. The assertion is as unfounded as 
that " the introduction of episcopacy among the Methodists in the United 
States was expressly disapproved and forbidden by Mr. Wesley ;" or that 
" the formation of the present plan of government among us was the undi 
vulged project of a few, who, meeting in secret conclave, excluded the junioi 
members even of their own body;" or that the bishops of the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church have ever founded their episcopacy on the ground of " unin- 
terrupted succession from the apostles ;" or that the rejection of that doctrine 


has ever been " struck out" "of our Discipline. Such assertions only serve 
to show how superficially those who make them have examined the subject ; 
or how servilely they copy others. We should regret that the repeti- 
tion of them should oblige us to give back the " modest" imputation either of 
" ignorance, or want of candour." 

No. II. 


My Dear Brother, 

Having had the pleasure of hearing you read your manuscript in the 
" Defence of our Fathers,'' &c, against the attacks of the Rev. Alexander 
M'Caine, I take this opportunity of expressing to you my views of the orders 
of our ministry. This I can do the more readily, because I have already 
published them in my little book on " Methodist Episcopacy," and it will 
also give me an opportunity of correcting some mistaken opinions which 
have been circulated, not much to the credit of the authors of them, respect- 
ing my views on this subject. Indeed, I have been represented as holding 
that a third order in the church is jure divino, or of divine right, without 
which, of course, there can be no valid ordinances. That this is an entire 
misrepresentation of my views, will appear manifest to every impartial mind, 
from the following quotations from my book on the subject of our episcopacy. 

In chapter ii, which treats of " Elders and of their duty," p. 35, is the 
following sentence : " I shall undertake to prove that the body of elders, in> 
their collective capacity, had the right of consecrating ministers, and of esta- 
blishing ordinances for the government of the church." It will be perceived 
that this sentence contains the main proposition which I set myself to prove 
and to sustain throughout that chapter ; and among other proofs cited in 
support of this doctrine, is the following from Stillingfleet : " Before the 
jurisdiction of presbyters was restrained by mutual consent, the presbyters 
enjoyed the same liberty that the presbyters among the Jews did, of ordain- 
ing other presbyters, by that power they were invested in or with, at their 
own ordination," p. 40. And the whole reasoning in this chapter is de- 
signed to show that consecration by presbyters is Scriptural, with a view to 
vindicate Mr. Wesley's ordination of Dr. Coke as a superintendent, and 
others as elders, for the Methodist Episcopal Church. How, then, I may 
ask, could I have held at the same time that a third order was essential to 
constitute a gospel church T I appeal to every man that has read my book 
with candour, that has consulted the pieces on this subject subsequently pub- 
lished in the Methodist Magazine, of which I acknowledge myself the author, 
for the correctness of the above statement. 

It is true I did believe, as I believe still, that in the primitive church, in 
the age immediately succeeding the apostles, there was an order — (I use the 
word order merely for convenience, to avoid circumlocution, meaning thereby 
nothing more than that they were invested by consent of the eldership with 
a power to preside over the flock of Christ, and to discharge other duties 
not so convenient for the presbyters to discharge) — of ministers denomi- 
nated evangelists ; that these were itinerating superintendents, (or bishops, 
if any like the term better,) having a general oversight of the whole church 


and that these are very nearly resembled by the bishops of tke Methodist 
Episcopal Church. But that these were an order of ministers by divine 
appointment, so essential that there can be no valid ordination or ordinances 
without them, is a sentiment I neither now nor ever believed. In proof o^ 
this, see " Methodist Episcopacy," p. 56, where are the following words 
'' It moreover appears highly probable, that whatever authority these itine- 
rating evangelists possessed, they derived it by delegation from the body of 
presbyters ; to whom belonged the original right of modifying the goverr 
ment of the church, as tKey saw it expedient for the benefit of the commu- 
nity, provided they did not transcend the bounds of their authority by trans- 
gressing a known precept of Christ." 

As to the account of the Methodist Episcopal Church, published first in 
Martindale's Dictionary, and afterward in Buck's Theological Dictionary, 
which I prepared under the sanction of the Book Committee before you were 
associated with me in the Book Concern, I consider it a simple statement of 
a matter of fact, that the Methodist Episcopal Church acknowledges three 
orders of ministers, deacons, elders, and bishops, which fact certainly no one 
can contradict, still understanding the word order, when applied to bishops, 
as above defined. If any choose to say that we acknowledge two orders 
only, and a superior minister possessing a delegated jurisdiction, chiefly of 
an executive character, he has my full consent ; I will not dispute about 
words. That Mr. Wesley did, with the aid of other presbyters, invest Dr. 
Coke with fuller powers, as a Methodist superintendent, than he did those 
whom he denominated elders, and that he intended to establish a Methodist 
Episcopal Church among the Methodists in America, I think you have fully 
proved ; and I heartily wish you success in your undertaking : for I think it 
» sacred duty we owe to the " venerable dead" to vindicate them against 
such invidious, unprovoked, and unmanly attacks, as those of the author of 
the " History and Mystery of Methodist Episcopacy ;" a title as quaint as 
ihe contents of thp book are manifestly unjust and erroneous. 

New-York, iW. 1827. N. Bangs. 

No. III. 


We have shown that by leaving Mr. Wesley's name off the Minutes, was 
simply meant the rescinding of the minute of the conference of 1784, to 
obey him in matters belonging to church government ; and also the peculiar 
circumstances in which that act took place. With regard to the conference 
of 1787, by whom that minute was rescinded, Mr. Snethen said, if he might 
?•! permitted to show his opinion, he should " applaud them for renouncing 
lhc< obligation." Answer to J. O'Kelly, p. 18. 


Watson's Dictionary. 

A Biblical and Theological Dictionary : explanatory of the History, Manners, 
and Customs of the Jews and neighbouring Nations. With an Account of 
the most remarkable Places and Persons mentioned in Scripture ; an Expo- 
sition of the principal Doctrines of Christianity ; and Notices of Jewish and 
Christian Sects and Heresies. By Richard Watson. With five Maps. 

8vo., pp. 1007. Sheep $2 75 

' Plain calf 3 25 

Calfgilt 350 

Calfextra 4 00 

This Dictionary is Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical. It is fair in its statements, judi- 
cious in its selections, and sufficiently comprehensive in its scope. It is indeed a more 
complete body of divinity than are many works which have been published under that name. 

Watson's Exposition. 

An Exposition of the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, and of some other de- 
tached Parts of the Holy Scriptures. Ry Richard Watson. 

8vo., pp. 538. Plain sheep $1 75 

Plaincalf 2 00 

Calfgilt 225 

Calfextra 2 50 

The sole object of this learned and original work is the elucidation of the Scriptures. The 
author has aimed to afford help to the attentive general reader, whenever he should come to 
a term, phrase, or a whole passage, the meaning of which is not obvious, and to exhibit the 
true Theology of the sacred volume. The notes, therefore, are brief upon the plainer pas- 
sages, and most copious where explication appeared necessary. No real difficulty has been 
evaded. — T. Hartwell Horne. 

The spirit of pure and elevated devotion with which the author's warm heart was so richly 
imbued, is plentifully diffused through these notes. Their direct tendency is to lead the 
soul to God. The work is complete as far as it extends, and it remains an affecting monu- 
ment of its author's industry, piety, and Christian purposes. — Wesleyan Magazine. 

Wesley's Notes on the New Testament. 

Explanatory Notes on the New Testament. By Rev. John Wesley, A. M. 

8vo., pp. 734. Plain sheep $1 80 

Plain calf. 2 20 

Calfgilt 2 40 

Calf extra 2 60 

Pearl edition. 

18mo., pp. 446. Sheep . $1 00 

Sheep extra 1 13 

Morocco tucks, gilt edges 2 25 

This work forms part of the course of study adopted by the last General Conference. 

For a brief exposition of the sacred text, we have long considered the Notes of Mr. Wesley 
as the best extant ; the sense is given in as few words as possible. We see that the 
commentator is a profound Biblical scholar, and that he gives us the results of the best 
efforts of both ancient and modern times for the illustration of the inspired writings of 
the New Testament. We have long wished Wesley's Notes more generally diffused 
among our people, and particularly that our young preachers might always have them at 
hand. We hope the present small and cheap edition (I'earl edition) will secure this 
desirable object. The work is beautifully got up. The type, though necessarily small, 
is exceedingly clear and readable. We earnestly recommend this edition of Wesley's 
Notes to our people, especially to the young of both sexes. But no young preacher should 
be without it. — Methodist Quarterly Review. 

Though short, they are always judicious, accurate, spiritual, terse, and impressive, and pos- 
sess the happy and rare excellence of leading the reader immediately to God and his own 
heart.— Dr. A. Clarke. 


* Wichens 1 Fulfilment of Scripture PropTwcy. 

Fulfilment of Prophecy, as exhibited in Ancient History and Modern Travels. 
By Stephen B. Wickens. 

18mo., pp. 352. Muslin or sheep $0 45 

Seldom have we read a volume of more real merit with such modest pretensions as this. 
The subject is universally interesting, but has generally been presented in too scholastic a 
form for the mass of readers. The present author has redeemed it from this objection, 
and by condensingthe Biblical arguments, and interspersing throughout the volume a large 
amount of sacred geography and general history, has so enlivened his pages that the volume 
is rendered peculiarly interesting to the general reader. He has spared no labour in his re- 
searches, and has added to former expositions of prophecy information gleaned from every 
modern traveller of note.— New-York Spectator. 

The author presents to the reader, within a small compass, and in an interesting form, the 
most satisfactory evidence that holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy 
Ghost. — Presbyterian. 

This excellent compilation brings together into one view the results of the researches of 
modern travellers as they bear upon and illustrate the most important prophecies of Scrip- 
ture. — So. Chr. Advocate. 

This book may be read with advantage by all who love the study of prophecy.— Baptist 
Christian Watchman. 

It goes over nearly the same ground as Keith, but is written in a more popular style, and is 
improved by extracts from some modern works, which Keith does not appear to have 
used. — Baptist Advocate. 

The compiler has prepared an epitome of the fulfilment of Scripture prophecy, which elevates 
our views of the inspired volume, and will have a powerful tendency to convince the in- 
fidel of, and confirm the Christian's belief in, its truth.— Canada Christian Guardian 



Dongs on the Methodist Episcopal Ministry. 

The Original Church of Christ ; or, a Scriptural Vindication of the Orders and 
Powers of the Ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church. By Nathan 
Bangs, D. D. Revised edition. 

12mo., pp. 388. Muslin or sheep 80 70 

Thia work appeared originally in numbers, in the Christian Advocate and Journal, and was 
intended to meet the strange and somewhat specious assumptions which are continually 
made in some sections of the Protestant Church. Tho correction which they administer 
was deemed so timely and complete, that the publication of the numbers in a more perma- 
nent form was very earnestly and generally solicited. 

The best work given by its venerable author to our literature.— Stevens' Church Polity. 

^Binneifs Theological Compend. 

Theological Compend: containing a System of Divinity, or a brief View of the 
Evidences, Doctrines, Morals, and Institutions of Christianity. By Amos 


18mo., pp. 128. Muslin $0 25 

A valuable compendium of religious truth, sustained by short and convincing Scriptural argu- 
ments. The volume is now used as a text-book in the adult classes in many schools with 
good success. It is accompanied with appropriate questions, and affords an interesting 
and profitable exercise. 

Butler's Analogy. 

The Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and 
Course of Nature. By Joseph Butler, LL. D., Bishop of Durham. "With 
an Analysis of the Work, by Rev. B. F. Tefft, D. D. 

12mo., pp. 342. Muslin or sheep SO 70 

This work forms part of the course of study adopted by the hut Ucarml Conference. 

The person who has not carefully studied Butler's Analogy, maybe thankful that there is one 
book at least, in which he will " meet with many things to which he has not before at- 
tended." — Methodist Quarterly Raview. 

This great work on the Analogy of Religion to the Course of Nature, though only a commen- 
tary on the singularly original and pregnant passage of Origen, which is so honestly prefixed 
to it as a motto, is, notwithstanding, the most original and profound work extant in anv 
language on the philosophy of religion.— Sib James Mackintosh. 

Clarke on the Eucharist. 

A Discourse on the Nature and Design of the Eucharist, or Sacrament of the 
Lord's Supper. By Adam Clarke, LL. D. 

18mo., pp. 154. Muslin or sheep $0 26 

This discourse treats of the nature and design of this institution ; the manner of its celebra- 
tion ; the proper meaning of the different epithets given to it in the Scriptures, and by the 
primitive church, and a few reasons to enforce the due and religious celebration of it ■ pre- 
ceded by an introduction, containing an examination of the question, Did our Lord eat 
the passover with his disciples on the last year of his public ministry ' 


Clarke's Theohgy. 

Christian Theology. By Adam Clarke, LL. D., F. A. S. Selected from his 
published and unpublished Writings, and Systematically arranged ; with a 
Life of the Author, by Samuel Dunn. 

12mo., pp. 438. Muslin or sheep $0 75 

Subjects. The Scriptures— God— The attributes of God— The Trinity— Man— Christ— Re- 
pentance— Faith— Justification— Regeneration— The Holy Spirit— Entire sanctification— 
The moral law— Public worship— Prayer— Praise— The Christian church— Baptism— The 
Lord's supper — Husband and wife— Parents and children— Masters and servants— Rulers 
and subjects— Rich and poor— Ministers and people— Good and bad angels— Temptations 
—Afflictions— Providence— Apostasy— Death— Judgments — Heaven— Hell — General princi- 
ples—Miscellaneous subjects. 

There are many persons to whom the memory of Dr. Clarke is justly dear, who can nevei 
purchase his voluminous and valued writings. By such persons a volume like that which 
Mr. Dunn has produced, must be highly prized. The selections are made with judgment, 
and will be found both edifying and instructive, possessing much of that spirit and energy 
by which the ministry of Dr. Clarke was distinguished.— Wesleyan Magazine. 

Clarke (G. W.) on the Divinity of Christ. 

Christ Crucified : or, a Plain Scriptural Vindication of the Divinity and Re- 
deeming Acts of Christ. With a Statement and Refutation of the forms of 
Unitarianism now most prevalent. By George W. Clarke. 

18mo., pp. 324. Muslin or sheep $0 45 

Contents: — Parti. Doctrines of the Cross stated — The sufficiency and authority of the Holy 
Scriptures — Some objections considered— Definitions — The Trinity — Divinity of Jesus Chris 
— Humanity of our Saviour — Necessity of the Divinity of Christ to the interpretation of the 
Scriptures — Its importance to practical Religion — The merits of Christ dependent on his 
exalted nature, rather than his office — Proof texts of Unitarianism examined. Part II. Uni- 
tarianism examined, and its distinguished doctrines shown to be as unreasonable as they 
are unscriptural — Inspiration of the Scriptures — Unitarian account of the Creation — Moral 
tendency of Unitarianism — Unitarian devices and misrepresentations. 

la this book Professor Clarke introduces what is really a most valuable digest of the best 
books on the subject, and also a vigorous and well-directed assault upon the strong-holds 
of Unitarianism itself. Wherever Unitarianism, Christianism, or similar forms of error pre- 
vail, this little book should be extensively circulated. 

A very plain, well-digested essay on a profound subject. The style is neat and perspicuous, 
the reasoning clear and forcible. Such a book cannot but do good. — Northern Christian 

An elaborate and very able defense of the Divinity and Redeeming Acts of Christ, with a 
Refutation of the prevalent Forms of Unitarianism. To such as wish a brief, but thorough 
discussion of the main points of the Unitarian Controversy respecting Christ and his mis- 
sion, we can commend this little volume as one of the very best which can be obtained. — 
Hion's Herald. 

The work is written in a forcible and convincing style, and is a lucid exposition of the great 
cardinal doctrines of the New Testament.— New- York Spectator. 

Edmondson's Heavenly World. 

A Scripture View of the Heavenly World. By Rev. Jonathan Edmondson, 
M. A. 

18mo., pp. 251. Muslin or sheep SO 35 

The character of this most excellent and profitable little book can be best seen from its table 
of Contents. 

Contents.— There is a heavenly world— Scripture names of heaven— God is present in hea- 
ven—The presence of Jesus in heaven— No sufferings in heaven— No death in heaven- 
No night in heaven— No war in heaven— Heaven is a holy place— Heaven is a glorious 
place— Happy employment in heaven— Extensive knowledge in heaven— We shall know 
each other in heaven— The religion of heaven is love— The resurrection body in heaven— 
The pleasures of heaven are pure— The wicked are shut out of heaven— Heaven is 

This has been one of the most profitable little books which has ever fallen into our hands. 
The author's views are so just and rational, so Scripturally true, and at the same time so 
vivid and clear, that we have lingered over his pages with delight. We recommend 
it to all ^ 


Elliott on Romanism. 

Delineation of Roman Catholicism : drawn from the Authentic ami Acknow- 
ledged Standards of the Church of Rome; namely, her Creeds, Catechisms, 
Decisions of Councils, Papal Bulls, Roman Catholic Writers, the Records of 
History, &c, in which the peculiar Doctrines, Morals, Government, and 
Usages of the Church of Rome are stated, treated at large, and confuted. 
By Rev. Charles Elliott, D. D. 

8vo., 2 vols., pp. 983. Sheep S3 00 

This work forma part of the course of study adopted by the last General Conference. 

The subject of Romanism is, at the present time, one of deep interest to every American 
citizen. Popery is making a progress and exerting an inftuenco throughout our land, which 
render it not only desirable,- but absolutely necessary, that Protestants should make them- 
selves thoroughly acquainted with the real character of the system, and with the ques- 
tions at issue between themselves and the Romanists. No minister's library can bo said 
to be complete without this great work. Two editions of three thousand copies each have 
already been published in London. The " Church of England Quarterly Review" recom- 
mends it as the most comprehensive and valuable treatise on Popery which is extant in 
the English language. It contains a full exposition of Romish Doctrines and Usages, from 
the acknowledged writings of the Romish Church, and these are given in the original, as 
well as in the translation, with as much fidelity as possible, botli in the one case and in 
the other. 

The work is arranged under the successive heads of Scripture, Tradition, the Fathers, and 
Rule of Faith, in the first book ; the Seven Sacraments of the Church of Rome, in the 
second book ; the Church, Councils, and Papal Supremacy, in the third book; and miscel- 
laneous Doctrines and Usages of Rome, in the fourth book. 

Although it has fallen to our lot to pursue our inquiries at considerable length on the Popish 
controversy, and hence to form a somewhat intimate acquaintance with its appropriate 
literature, we are able to name no single volume to be compared, in the amplitude of its 
range, the fulness of its matter, and the general accuracy of its details, with the work of 
Dr. Elliott. It is, in fact, an encyclopedia of the subject ; a book of reference, and yet in- 
vested with all the attributes of popularity, equally adapted to the scholar and the peasant 
In all matters of importance it gives the passages required to the argument or illustration 
in the original, in notes, while the translation is incorporated with the text. One thing 
deserves special notice. The work is adapted to the times which are passing over us 
and to the Popery of the present hour. In this respect it greatly surpasses every work of 
the kind of purely British origin.— {London) Christian Witness. 

After due examination of the work, we believe that three times three thousand will, ere long, 
be in circulation ; we know of no work containing such a store of materials for rebutting 
the advances, and repelling the encroachments of Popery, as "Dr. Elliott's Delineation 
of Romanism." It is, indeed, the most comprehensive treatise against Popery extant — a 
treasury of materials ready prepared for future controversialists. — Birmingham Advertiser. 

With more than common earnestness we commend it to their attention. In the present day 
it is of the utmost importance that Protestants should so understand the foundations on 
which the truths of the Reformation rest, as to be not only grounded in the faith them- 
selves, but also able to give to others solid and satisfactory reasons for their belief. Dr. 
Elliott's Delineation is just the work to be read, read again, studied, and meditated upon, 
in order to the attainment of this desirable object.— London Watchman. 

But exactly such a work as we wanted, we have met with in the second volume, by Dr. Elliott, 
printed at New-York, at the Conference office of the M. E. Church. We know of no work 
like it in the language. It is a complete Thesaurus of the subjects included in the con- 
troversy, &c. &c. — Wesleyan Magazine. 

Emory's Defence, of our Fathers. 

Defence of our Fathers, and of the Original Organization of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, against the Rev. Alexander M'Caine and others ; with 
Historical Notices of early American Methodism. By Bishop Emory. 

8vo., pp. 154. Muslin $0 50 

This work forms part of the course of study adopted by the last General Conference. 

Emory's Episcopal Controversy. 

The Episcopal Controversy Reviewed. By Bishop Emort. Edited by Ms 
Son, from an unfinished Manuscript. 

8vo., pp. 183. Muslin $0 60 

This work forms part of the course of study adopted by the last General Conference. 



Emory's Controversy and Defence. 

Episcopal Controversy and Defence of our Fathers, (bound together.) By 
Bishop Emory. With a Portrait. 

8vo., pp. 337. Muslin or sheep $0 75 

These works can also be obtained, bound with the Life of Bishop Emory. See " Biography 
and History." 

These two works make an excellent manual on the subject of Episcopacy. The same extent 
of learning, the same clearness, conciseness, and cogency of reasoning, and the same felicit- 
ous, determinate, and appropriate use of terms, are distinguishable in them, as in all Bishop 
Emory's productions. 

I do not speak in too strong terms when I say it is a masterly argument. — Dr. Paddock. 

Fisk on Calvinism. 

Calvinistic Controversy, embracing a Sermon on Predestination and Election. 
By Rev. Wilbur Fisk, D. D. 

12mo., pp. 273. Sheep $0 50 

Contents :— Sermon on Predestination and Election— Reply to the Christian Spectator— In- 
definiteness of Calvinism— Brief sketch of the past changes and present state of Calvin- 
ism in this country— Predestination— Moral agency and accountability— Moral agency, 
as affected by the fall and the subsequent provisions of Grace— Objections to gracious 
ability answered— Regeneration. 

In these able articles on the " Calvinistic Controversy," many of the "New School" doc- 
trines are brought out prominently and triumphantly refuted by Dr. Fisk. A clergyman 
of another denomination, says, " I have seldom read anything more logical, argumenta- 
tive, clear, and conclusive." 

Fisk and Mcrritt on Universal Salvation. 

Discussion on Universal Salvation, in Three Lectures nnd Five Answers against 
that Doctrine, by Rev. Timothy Merritt. With two Discourses on the 
same Subject, by Rev. Wilbur Fisk. D. D. 

18mo., pp. 328. Sheep SO 40 

The first discourse is on the Curse of the Divine Law, and the second on the Objections 
against the doctrine of Universal Salvation. 

Fletcher's Works. 

The Works of the Rev. John Fletcher, late Vicar of Madelcy. 

8vo., 4 vols., pp. 2480. Plain sheep 86 00 

Plain calf 7 00 

Calf gilt 8 00 

Calf extra 9 00 

This work forms part of the course of study adoptnl h>j tltr last Grncrtd Confidence. 

Contents: — Vol.1. — Checks to Antinomianism. First Check : A Vindication of the Rev. 
Mr. Wesley's Minutes, occasioned by a Circular Letter, inviting both Clergy and Laity who 
disapproved of those Minutes, to oppose them as a dreadful Heresy— Second Check ; In 
which the doctrine of a Second Justification by Works is defended, and the prevalence and 
evil consequences of Antinomianism are shown — Third Check ; Remarks on Mr. Hill's 
five letters, on man's faithfulness, working for life, merit, men's sins displeasing God, 
but not their persons, finished salvation— Fourth Check ; In which St. James' pure re- 
ligion is defended against the charges, and established upon the concessions of Mr. Richard 
and Mr. Rowland Hill— Fifth Check; Containing an Answer to "The Finishing S'.roke" 
of Richard Hill, Esq., with an Appendix, upon the remaining difference between the 
Calvinists and tiie Anti-Calvinists, with respect to our Lord's doctine of Justification by 
Works, and St. James' doctrine of Justification by Works, and not by Faith only. The 
fictitious and genuine Creed, being "A Creed for Arminians," composed by Richard Hill, 
Esq., to which is opposed a Creed for those who believe that Christ tasted death for every 
man — An equal Check to Pharisaism and Antinomianism — containing, 1st, an Essay on the 
danger of parting faith and works— 2d, A Discourse on Salvation, by the covenant of Grate 
—3d, A Scripture Essay on the rewardableness of Works, according to the Covenant of 
Grace— 4th, An Essay on Truth ; or a rational vindication of the Doctrine of Salvation 
by Faith.